Innovative sparks fly at UC Startup weekend

Students compete in three-day showdown at 1819 Innovation Hub

Student participants collaborate at UC Startup competition. Photo/Greg Glevicky.

Student participants collaborate at UC Startup competition. Photo/Greg Glevicky

The University of Cincinnati Center for Entrepreneurship ignited the spirit of entrepreneurship, as reported by WLWT News 5.

The UC Startup, a three-day student competition, took place at the UC 1819 Innovation Hub over the past weekend. With more than 190 student applicants from various Ohio regional colleges representing diverse majors and degree levels, the event provided a platform to showcase their innovative prowess, vying for a chance to win prizes of up to $5,000.

The event kicked off on Friday, January 26, and concluded with a pitch competition in the afternoon of Sunday, January 28.

Kate Harmon, the executive director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, said the UC Startup competition serves as a launchpad for the upcoming generation of pioneering innovators.

"UC Startup Weekend offers students the opportunity to build relationships, test their ideas in a safe environment, and gain insights from accomplished entrepreneurs, investors, and industry professionals over three fun-filled, educational days," Harmon said.

UC Startup Weekend offers students the opportunity to build relationships, test their ideas in a safe environment, and gain insights from accomplished entrepreneurs, investors, and industry professionals over three fun-filled, educational days.

Kate Harmon, Executive Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship

The judging panel was impressed by the 28 teams comprising talented students. Final pitches were segmented into three sessions, ultimately leading to the judges selecting the following three teams to receive the top prizes.

  • 1st place ($1500): CaTable, a tech-enabled unit for tabletop games that automates the process of resetting a game board
  • 2nd place ($1000): Pantry, an app for sourcing the best grocery store deals using the Tembo tech stack. Tembo is a local dev shop and corporate partner of 1819 Innovation Hub
  • 3rd place ($750): FuelProTek, a concept that enables enterprise fleets to monitor fuel flow in their vehicles for theft prevention 

Other teams caught the judges' attention as runner-ups and received $500 each.

  • Junietta: a compact and portable music synthesizer/electric piano
  • Ecostats:  an IoT tool for monitoring household utility usage and suggesting reduction strategies
  • Bayleaf and Beyond:  a meal kit platform for authentic and affordable subcontinental recipes
UC Center for Entrepreneurship welcomes students to the competition. Photo/Greg Glevicky.

UC Center for Entrepreneurship welcomes students to the competition. Photo/Greg Glevicky.

Finally, a category for Best Customer Discovery was included, with the judges awarding $500 to the team that demonstrated the utmost dedication in validating their idea throughout the weekend. The award recipient was "Shower Beer," an ingenious branding concept for a light beer and its accompanying accessory line.

Harmon shared another contribution to the event. The Center for Entrepreneurship, in partnership with the UC Graduate College, offered an additional opportunity over the weekend to innovate the UC Graduate College experience. Student participants and could collaborate, forming teams to explore ideas associated with the graduate school as part of the GradNext initiative.

Featured image at top: Student teams work on their innovative startup idea. Photo/Greg Glevicky

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