Seven engineering students contributed to the top three winning ideas at the 2012 Villanova Student Entrepreneurship Competition (VSEC), marking the second consecutive year that engineering students participated on the first-place-winning team. This year’s winning concepts included a medical suction device for developing countries, an innovation for children’s bicycle training wheels, and a socially responsible apparel line. The VSEC competition attracts students from each of the University’s colleges and schools, with the 2012 competition featuring 42 different teams of students.
“It is wonderful to see the entrepreneurial spirit spread throughout the campus. The fact that so many engineering students were involved and were so successful is a testament to their creativity, determination, and awareness of societal needs,” says Edmond Dougherty, Director of Engineering Entrepreneurship. “The competition nurtured ideas that I expect one day to be thriving businesses.”
First place went to Vita Suction, a low-cost surgical suction device for use in developing countries that may lack access to reliable electricity. According to the team, comprised of Kyra Holmquest EE ’12, Emily Battinelli EE ’12, David Falco EE ’14, and Julia Musso ME ’11, MSSE ’13, powering options include rechargeable batteries charged by the Solar Suitcase (wecaresolar.org), a 12 VDC battery, or grid power when available. Vita Suction can improve operating room sanitation and energy efficiency, while also helping to save lives. They received a $5,000 prize and were also named the winners of The Halloran Prize for Best Social Entrepreneurship Venture.
Cameron Piper ME ’14 and Simeon Dubois ME ’14 took second place Lift-Off Solutions, a training wheels innovation designed to prevent children from tipping over and injuring themselves when learning to ride a bike. It also provides standard two-wheel riding once the rider is in motion. They received a $3,000 prize.
Third place went to Keep it Warm, a socially responsible winter weather apparel company. For each product sold, one is donated to a community in need, such as the Lakota tribe in South Dakota. Kyle Pucci ME ’14 joined Keep it Warm co-founders Jeff Savio and Tim Szatkowski of the Villanova School of Business and S.J. Morreale of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. The team received $2,000.
A student competition for Villanova undergraduate and graduate students, VSEC spans one semester and allows students to create an idea and, within the competition, develop it into a viable business proposition. Founded in 2009 by Ronald Warzoha ME ’08, MSME ’09, and PhD candidate in engineering, and Timothy Montalbano ME ’08, MSME ’10, the competition has since evolved into a broad ranging, overarching entrepreneurship competition designed to give students the experience of creating and designing products, businesses or services to fill a variety of needs in today’s world.