Innovation is the lifeblood of Georgia’s growing economy and the Georgia Centers of Innovation are supporting young entrepreneurs through the Georgia Tech InVenture Prize and Challenge. To encourage and assist the teams in the commercialization of their ideas, the Georgia Centers of Innovation sponsored a series of awards at this year’s InVenture competitions on Wednesday March 15th at Georgia Tech.
The InVenture Challenge is a competition for Georgia K-12 students to recognize achievement and encourage interest in innovation, design, and engineering. The goal is to challenge students to identify a real-world problem and test a solution. This year’s K-12 InVenture Challenge included teams comprised of elementary, middle, and high school students from across the state of Georgia. The teams participated in regional completions with the best 80+ teams coming to Atlanta for the finals on Wednesday morning. The Centers of Innovation (COI) provided judges from five Centers. Executive Director Steve Justice noted “there were many excellent projects; I visited with one middle school team who I believe could take their idea commercial tomorrow.”
In addition to providing judges, COI also sponsored the First Place awards for the Middle School and High School divisions, and the Center of Innovation for Manufacturing provided sponsorship to support event administration and operations. The winners were The Locker Hammock from JC Booth Middle School in Fayette Country and Oil Spill Cleanup Improvement from North Forsyth High school in Forsyth County. These winning teams are now eligible to compete at the National Invention Convention in Washington, DC.
In the evening the Georgia Tech InVenture Prize finalists took center stage at the finals televised live by Georgia Public Broadcasting. Six teams presented their products to a panel of judges who selected the 1st and 2nd place teams and won $20,000 and $10,000 respectively. The Center of Innovation for Manufacturing sponsored the “People’s Choice Award”, worth an additional $5,000, based on text votes by the studio audience and television viewers.
The winner of the “People’s Choice Award” and the 1st Place award was CauteryGuard, a safer medical device used to remove unwanted tissue and to stop bleeding. The team won a total of $25,000 to continue the development of this product. “This is really incredible,” said Dev Mandavia, a student in Georgia Tech’s Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering. “This validates all the hard work we’ve put into this device. This will allow us to take it to the next step and bring our product to FDA approval and then eventually start saving the lives of patients and surgeons.”
“The Inventure Challenge and Inventure Prize are two of the Center of Innovation for Manufacturing’s favorite events of the year. Not only is it exciting to see the ingenuity that all student teams put into their projects, it also gives our Center an opportunity to identify inventions that we think have commercial value. Our real work starts after the events, however, when we reach out to teams to talk about how we can help them bring their products to market,” said John Morehouse, director, Georgia Center of Innovation for Manufacturing.
CauteryGuard will now represent Georgia Tech at the ACC InVenture Prize. This competition, which will involve student startups and inventions from each of the 15 universities in the Atlantic Coast Conference, will take place at Georgia Tech March 30 and 31.
More information on the event can be found here.
*All photos courtesy of Georgia Tech.