NDSU Students Let Business Ideas Flow to Kick Off Innovation Challenge

Students had a chance to share their ideas in front of business leaders

FARGO, N.D. — When Ellen Koshney began her time at NDSU, she didn’t realize that one day, she’d be sharing her business ideas among her peers.

“As a freshman, I never expected to ever take part in the Innovation Challenge. It was only a couple of weeks ago that I came up with an idea with my friend and we kind of just decided to do it,” Koshney said.

NDSU’s Innovation Challenge allows students to explore unique business ideas and find ways to make them stand out.

Koshney wants to open up a warehouse that reduces the waste from shipping clothes.

“Basically, every garment that you buy comes along with three or four plastic bags and adhesive labels, and it all gets thrown away, none of it’s recycled,” said Koshney.

Others want to put their twist on conventional household items.

“Think of an air freshener, how it’s usually a tree or something boring, hanging down from your mirror. We just had a little idea of ‘what if it’s a piece of art?’ You know art doesn’t stink,” said Ryan Moroff, a senior at NDSU.

With more and more students taking part each year, some students say the challenge fuels their fire for entrepreneurial creativity.

This year, students had 45 seconds to pitch their ideas, getting a chance to show off their skills to business professionals and their classmates.

Some say building up confidence is an important hallmark the Challenge provides.

“It gives students a lot of hard skills they can present in an interview at some time, as well as have a chance to network with other students, meet people in the community and potentially get an internship or a job offer out of this. It’s our chance to build the workforce,” said Emily Schubert of the NDSU Research and Technology Park.

As the students move towards the next step in the competition, Koshney has simple advice.

“Regardless of where you stand in the university, let your ideas flow,” Koshney said.

The final presentations for the Innovation Challenge take place this spring, with the winning team taking home $3000.

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