LaunchNET Announces Winners of Annual Start Something BW Contest

Start Something BW Contest is offered through LaunchNET as an annual online entrepreneurial event where students, faculty, and staff can submit ideas to implement around campus.

“This year, 39 different majors were represented and a total of 88 students participated in the contest. Following the contest, LaunchNET sent out follow-up emails to all the contestants offering words of advice and action items to help start their idea – whether they won or not,” said LanchNET Program Manager Hannah Schlueter. The categories for 2020 were New Startup/ Prototype, COVID Innovation, or Idea for BW.

“This year in particular, our judges were very impressed with the quality of ideas that were submitted. A lot of the entries were well thought out and showed us, that there is a passion for entrepreneurship across campus,” said Schlueter.

The winners for Best New Start Up/ Prototype were Caitlin Jurcago, Kate Lenihan, Nick Pankow, and Brady Ullom for their idea entitled Turtle Phone Case, a protective phone case that mimics a turtle’s shell to prevent phone damage when dropped. Runner up Zachary Pierce created Lifeband, which is a bracelet designed to prevent people from drowning by sending out their location.

The winner for Best COVID-19 Innovation was Jessica Lostoski, for a see-through mask with a built-in microphone that can be amplified for those that are hard of hearing. Runner up Milica Radivojevic created Maskne, a mask that will include acne preventing medication to stop break outs.

The winners for Best Idea for BW were Leslie Bell, John Blake, Nicki Hodgkiss, Regan Olak, Greg Paparizos, and Natalie Reichert for BWDirect which is a student run ride share driving system or app for students without transportation on campus. Runner up Jessica Jonczyk created Musicians Injury and Prevention Clinic to provide BW student musicians with specialists to support their treatment or injuries. Dr. Susan Finelli-Genovese won for faculty and staff with her idea of Fountain Seating Area or creating a collaborative workspace on North Quad.

One of the winners for Best Idea for BW Regan Olak said, “This past Monday, November 16th I received a very unexpected email from Hannah Schlueter, she was writing to inform that my group’s submission won first place!  As I said it, was completely unexpected but very exciting to hear they liked our idea of BWDIRECT.”

LaunchNET is dedicated to providing opportunities for young entrepreneurs around campus. “Our team that entered this submission are all a part of the CIG Colloquium this semester and we have discussed a lot about enhancing our entrepreneurial mindset. I think it is amazing how we all contributed to the idea of BWDIRECT, one person’s thought building off of another and putting our creative skills into action. I am eager to work with the rest of the team to make this idea become a reality on campus,” said Olak.

Schlueter continued saying, “So far, we’ve had a very positive response from various participants, and several have already reached out to start working with LaunchNET to further their ideas. We look forward to working with our contestants through LaunchNET and helping them develop their ideas from Start Something BW into full-blown ventures!”