By: Lexie Newhouse
April 3rd-4th marked the first annual Georgia InVenture Prize, a two-day competition dedicated to supporting the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs.
Students from Albany State University, Atlanta Technical College, Augusta Technical College, Columbus State University, Dalton State College, Fort Valley State University, Georgia College and State University, Georgia Gwinnett College, Georgia Tech, Georgia Southern University, Georgia State University, Kennesaw State University, Mercer University, Middle Georgia State University, Savannah State University, Southern Regional Technical College, University of Georgia, University of North Georgia and Valdosta State University represented the 19 teams competing in the Georgia InVenture Prize.
The undergraduate student teams pitched their business ideas in a preliminary round to a panel of 20 judges representing esteemed business professionals from across the state Wednesday evening. Chidi Okolongke and Tim Sok from Georgia State University pitched NspireMe, a digital accountability app that connects people who have similar goals.
As judges deliberated Wednesday evening, students enjoyed networking in between swings at Top Golf as they anxiously waited for the results. Five teams advanced to the final round: Ethos Medical of Georgia Institute of Technology, Puppyfax of University of Georgia, Opus Affinity of University of North Georgia, Spartan Wheel Chariots of Southern Regional Technical College and Extendo Socket of Fort Valley State University.
The programming continued Thursday morning with several workshops on topics like intellectual property, data and career lessons to help inform students as they pursue their entrepreneurial endeavors. These morning activities wrapped up with a tour of NCR, global leader in banking and commerce solutions headquartered in Midtown Atlanta.
Live at the Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) Studios, the final round was held Thursday evening and was hosted by actor and comedian Mark Curry. The judge lineup featured Super Soaker inventor Lonnie Johnson, MomGenius founder Tiffany Krumins, and Better Options Company founder Janelle Fitzpatrick. In the end, Extendo Socket took home first place and Spartan Wheel Chariots took home both second place and the People’s Choice Award. The winning team gets to display the covenant Georgia InVenture Prize Cup on their campus for a year – what an honor.
Congratulations again to all 19 teams that competed in the Georgia InVenture Prize and a special thank you to the Georgia Chamber, Georgia Power Foundation and the Georgia Inventure Prize sponsors, University System of Georgia, NCR Corporation, Georgia Lottery Corporation and Gulfstream, for making this event a success!