Lawrence Tech team wins Chicago Innovation Chase
Wednesday, November 30th, 2011
Team Firefly of the College of Architecture and Design emerged as the winner of the Chicago Innovation Chase against teams from around the country in September.
The team’s success began in January when it won a local qualifying competition held at Lawrence Tech and earned the right to compete at the national competition held at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) Sept. 8-11.
Undaunted by the competition’s intense entrepreneurial challenge to develop their idea into a business over the span of four days, teammates Yousif Yousif, Bryce Gamper, Bianca Singleton, and Eliza Morales rose to the top and returned home with the first place trophy.
The Chicago Innovation Chase is an intercollegiate entrepreneurship and innovation program designed to spotlight and mentor student talent to create the next generation of inventors, problem-solvers and entrepreneurs.
Over the course of the competition the team undertook the same process as a startup company would as it went through various iterations of design, research, prototyping, market management, proposal drafting, and presentations, all with the aim to solve a critical world problem. The team had the opportunity to work on their project in the Incubator at IIT, Chicago’s premier research facility for emerging companies that was completed this year..
The competition provided participants with the opportunity to network with other exemplary students from around the United States. Participating schools included Saint Louis University from Missouri, Mercer University from Georgia, and Villanova University from Pennsylvania. These institutions along with IIT and LTU are part of the Kern Entrepreneurial Education Network (KEEN), a program that supports the development of an entrepreneurial mindset in engineering students.
“The Chicago Innovation Chase was an inspirational journey. It gave me an opportunity to collaborate with remarkable people from all around the country, sharing ideas, and competing in friendly challenges,” Yousif said.
Team Firefly’s business idea is one that promotes a cross-cultural learning interaction between architecture students. They are currently working toward developing a viable business from the concept with the help of Lawrence Tech advisors.
Donald Reimer, director of entrepreneurship for the College of Engineering, served as the team’s coach during the competition and continues to assist them along with mentors from the LEGENDS of Lawrence Tech, the entrepreneurial alumni group.
“The Lawrence Tech students who engaged in the Chicago 2011 Innovation Chase were outstanding. This team functioned exceptionally well. They worked together as a team to achieve their mission. The team was focused and relentless,” Reimer said. “Lawrence Tech is proud that this talented and dedicated team of students achieved this distinguished recognition.”
Students interested in learning more about entrepreneurship or in forming a team for the next local qualifying competition taking place at LTU in the spring semester should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.