Arizona student start-ups in entrepreneur contest

8 Aug 2011

Three Arizona State University (ASU) student start-ups have made it into the ‘College Entrepreneur of 2011’ contest for their unique innovations that include converting steel shipping containers into medical clinics, the development of an app for vets to diagnose small animals and the development of 3D content and systems to change how people interact.

The three start-ups that have made the shortlist for the competition hail from ASU’s Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative, a student venture accelerator programme that helps aspiring student entrepreneurs from all ASU campuses grow their ventures into viable businesses.

The eventual winner of the College Entrepreneur of 2011 competition, which will be announced in late 2011, will receive US$5,000 in prize money to help develop their business. Coupled with this cash injection, the winning company will also feature in the January 2012 edition of Entrepreneur magazine.

The winner will be decided by voting that has already started and continues until September. Click here to see all the finalists.

Of the three ventures that hail from ASU, Boson is focusing on stereoscopic 3D media, and how it can enhance our abilities to interact, communicate, and develop physical abilities that will benefit current and future generations. Using gesture-based technology, interactive simulations, and supporting a unique technology platform, the company is developing various 3D content and systems.

Ellens Technologies is developing an iOS platform mobile app to assist vets in the diagnosis of small animals by starting with a symptom and ruling out or eliminating possible causes while moving towards the root problem.

Converting steel containers into medical clinics

G3Box, meanwhile, is focusing on converting steel shipping containers into medical clinics by outfitting them with the basic components of power, ventilation, water and insulation so they can be used to address critical health needs internationally. The company will convert every seventh container as a maternity clinic to help decrease the maternal death rate in developing countries.

“Having three finalists in this competition being recent or current Edson student start-up companies is a fantastic validation of the Edson entrepreneurship initiative and the culture of entrepreneurship being cultivated here in ASU,” said Gordon McConnell, executive director of Venture Acceleration at ASU. Before joining ASU this year, McConnell was the deputy-CEO of the DCU Ryan Academy in Ireland and founding director of the Propeller Accelerator programme there.

The Edson Initiative funding is in addition to the office space, mentorship and training that ASU offers as part of this new venture creation competition. The programme is one of the largest privately funded business plan competitions at a US university, according to McConnell. Participating student teams incubate and accelerate their business ideas at SkySong, the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center. Mentors and venture acceleration services provided by the ASU Venture Catalyst team at SkySong help transform their ideas into tangible businesses.

Photo: G3Box founders from the Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative at Arizona State University pictured with a steel container that they are converting into a medical clinic. G3Box is one of the student companies that has made it to the finals of the College Entrepreneur of 2011 competition in the US

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic