Author : Lexie Newhouse
Photos by: Amy Morris
Here’s an equation to solve: What’s the sum of 180 Georgia State students, 34 startup ventures, 15 weeks, 13 finalists, four external judges and three ENI instructors?
One successful Business Model Competition!
On December 1st, the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute (ENI) hosted its third semiannual Business Model Competition at the newly-opened Creative Media Industries Institute (CMII).
The event featured six teams in the poster session and seven in the pitching session, overall representing six sections of ENI 3101’s “Entrepreneurial Thinking” course. Throughout the semester, students practiced entrepreneurial techniques to develop a sustainable business model by leveraging Customer Development, Value Proposition and Lean Startup methodologies.
Once competing teams in the poster session shared their presentations and business model canvases, the remaining seven teams pitched their business model to a panel of community judges comprised of Erica Bracey of GSU Launch, Michael Jordan, Justin McLeod of ATV and Larry McHugh of ATDC.
These teams included The Move, The City, Relay, Sidespace, HookahHat, and Songwriters Showcase to represent those ENI 3101 sections under the instruction of Dr. Isabelle Nathalie Monlouis, Dr. Geoffrey Michael Graybeal and Mr. Matt Bramblett.
The Move and The City both approached the nightlife scene with two different solutions to better inform users of local clubs via mobile app. Casey Morris of The City explained that, “The app originated from us looking for fun parties and places to go and not having a legitimate source to go to.” When asked whether they were planning on pursuing this opportunity, the team unanimously answered, “Yes.”
Relay, self-coined as the Uber of shipping, created a system to facilitate quicker shipping with lower costs and more convenience. “We used platforms like Uber and Airbnb as our inspiration for Relay,” said Isa Khan. “We hope to spread to other major cities and maybe even advance to planes.”
Sidespace developed a platform that connects space seekers with nearby hosts, describing it as the “Airbnb of storage.” “Currently, we’re finalizing our website and will start seeding the market as soon as possible,” Michael Weldon of Sidespace said. “Our competitors don’t have apps as of now, so we feel that a website is a strong starting point.”
With all the other competing teams presenting service-based models, HookahHat alternatively designed their company around a product: a device that prevents hookah-related burns. The team had also created a prototype using Georgia State’s newly established EXLAB, a makerspace that promotes creativity, innovation and experiential learning.
“This project was particularly personal to our group because the product was born out of personal experiences,” said HookahHat teammate India White. “Both another teammate and myself had seen the dangers for hookah related burns, so we wanted to come up with a simple solution.”
Songwriters Showcase concluded the competition with their solution to create opportunities for undiscovered talents to gain exposure. “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for everyone involved,” said Ricky O’Connor. “Attendees will get an intimate event with a major artist while the upcoming artists get to share a space with them.”
HookahHat won first place, which comes with a $1000 grand prize, and received the Most Innovative Award out of all of the business model contestants. Sidespace placed second and The City placed third, winning $500 and $300 in prize money respectively.
Missed this event? ENI hosts events intended to educate students, faculty, staff, and other university affiliates on topics relating to entrepreneurship and innovation. For more information about our upcoming events, head over to our events calendar!