Louisiana Tech hosts entrepreneurs at TOP DAWG New Venture Championship

Apr 13, 2011 | Business, Research and Development

Seven teams of student entrepreneurs from Louisiana Tech University are set to present their innovative business ideas and vie for $10,000 in prizes at the 2011 TOP DAWG New Venture Championship.
The competition takes place on April 21 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in Louisiana Tech’s Student Center with an awards ceremony scheduled for 4:00 p.m.  Faculty, staff, students and supporters of the program are invited to attend.
Bulldog Entrepreneurs (BE) hosts the event which encourages students to build innovative, creative products and services that create value in the marketplace.  BE also conducts training sessions to help the teams build their business investment decks.  The investment deck is a plan that informs investors about the crucial points of the team’s new venture concept and shows the depth of research and thought that the team has afforded their new venture.
“The goal of the TOP DAWG New Venture Championship is to encourage students with great new venture ideas to build innovative, creative products and services that create value in the marketplace,” said Debbie Inman, coordinator of entrepreneurial studies at Louisiana Tech.  “This competition is an integral part of the Enterprise Campus focus at Louisiana Tech.”
During the competition, each team is mentored by business experts from commercial and academic fields.  Mentors include Dr. Andrea Drake, associate professor of accounting; Dr. Son Le, assistant professor of management; Patrick Mills, principal at July Equity Group; Dr. Davy Norris, director of Louisiana Tech’s Enterprise Center; Jeffery Weisman, Esq.; and Kathy Wyatt, director of Louisiana Tech’s Technology Business Development Center.
Half of the $10,000 prize package comes from Louisiana Tech’s College of Business and College of Engineering and Science, which funded a total of $5,000 to be awarded to first, second, and third place teams. Teams will be judged on the written decks, oral presentation, and business feasibility. 
Other awards include a $2,000 Best Presentation Award funded through proceeds from the Ruston-Lincoln Parish Business Awards Breakfast, a $1,000 award from Louisiana Tech’s Innovation Enterprise Fund, and a $2,000 Jones Walker Entrepreneurial Spirit Award, funded by Jones Walker, which recognizes the team with the most entrepreneurial spirit.
Jones Walker has grown over the past several decades in size and scope to become one of the largest law firms in the Gulf South. With more than 300 attorneys, Jones Walker serves local, regional, national, and international business interests in a wide range of markets and industries through offices in Alabama, Arizona, the District of Columbia, Florida, Louisiana, and Texas.
Inman says the competition gives Louisiana Tech students, faculty and alumni the chance to work together and develop innovative ideas into real businesses.  “This event showcases intellectual properties developed by Louisiana Tech researchers and students.  Not only do participants promote new technologies, some teams create non-technology based ventures.”
This year’s teams and presentation times are as follows:

  • DNA Analyzer (a portable lab that detects MRSA infection): Natalie Lamelle, Nishi Mehta, and Farial Afroze – 10:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
  • O3 Solutions (an herbicide treatment for giant salvinia that leaves behind no trace or legacy chemicals): Alan Katzenmeyer and Casey Roper – 10:35 a.m. to 11:05 a.m.
  • Visually Impaired Navigation Aid-VINA (a mobility aid for the blind): Bryan Cox and Chantain Grier – 11:10 a.m. to 11:40 a.m.
  • The RHINdow (protect your car interior from heat and rain damage):  Jeff Boudreaux, Rachel Hanks, Ethan Hilton, Samuel Wisher – 12:50 p.m. to 1:20 p.m.
  • HelpFlix (turns printed assembly instructions into easy-to-understand, dynamic videos):  Sreenivasa Sanakam and Arjun Sada – 1:25 p.m. to 1:55 p.m.
  • BioTech (offers a continuous glucose monitor that is cheaper and requires only one finger prick per week for calibration):  Louis Reis and Katelyn Burnaman – 2:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
  • PowerFetch (provides products that improve and extend a dog’s life through regular exercise at minimal cost to the owner): Aaron Chenevert, Brandon Cloud, Brandon Lawrence, and Jason Reich – 2:35 p.m. to 3:05 p.m.

Judges for this year’s competition include Bill Hogan, Executive Vice President for Bank of Ruston; Miriam Russell, Northeast Regional Director for Louisiana Economic Development; Joel Trammell, CEO for Cache IQ; and Robert C. Tucker, Partner with Jones Walker.