Established in 2002 by Bulldog Entrepreneurs, TOP DAWG is an annual event encouraging innovation among students at Louisiana Tech University. Last week, a total of $14,500 in cash and prizes was awarded during the New Venture Championship.
Teams of students competed in TOP DAWG’s Idea Pitch competition last October. The top 12 teams earned a spot to compete in the TOP DAWG New Venture Championship. The top three overall finishers were given awards, in addition to the teams that won for entrepreneurial spirit and best presentation. Nine, multi-disciplinary teams progressed to the final round this year. The teams were scored on the quality of their new venture investment deck and presentation as well as the overall viability of their business concept.
Haptic Unlimited (Sean Griffin – marketing major and Jessica Wasserman – PhD, biomedical engineering) won first place and $3,000 with their “Firebrand” product, a handheld Bluetooth keyboard and mouse designed for “Thumb and Trigger” typing to allow texting with any computing device. The team also won the Innovation Enterprise Fund awarded and an additional $1,000.
Blue Green Innovations (Mindy Brock – electrical engineering major, and Jake Scoggin and Jake Terracina, both nanosystems engineering majors) earned second place and $1,500 for their waveguide product that offers a more cost effective method to grow algae for biofuel, waste water treatment, and CO2 reduction. The team also won the $2,000 Ruston-Lincoln Parish Business Awards Best Presentation Award.
I-Chair won third place and $500 for an EEG and EOG-based wheelchair, which integrates “mind and chair” (Titly Dhar, Chelsea Dressel, Ryan Romance, Osayd Sawalha, Jessie Theobalds, and Zakariae Yerrou – all biomedical engineering majors.)
In addition to the cash awards, the Louisiana Tech Enterprise Center sponsors six months of incubator space to the winning teams, valued at $4,500.
Glo-Cam (Megan Carroll, Austin Hoggatt, Aaron Rogers, and Erik Woodard – all biomedical engineering majors) which offers a cost effective way to image cancerous tumors, earned the $2,000 Jones Walker Entrepreneurial Spirit Award.
Sponsors for the TOP DAWG include the Louisiana Tech College of Business, Louisiana Tech College of Engineering, the Center for Entrepreneurship and Information Technology (CEnIT), the Louisiana Tech Enterprise Center, and the Technology Business Development Center (TBDC).