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Center for the Environment hosts annual environmental entrepreneurship competition

March 2, 2009

The six finalists have been selected for the regional Idea-to-Product Competition for Environmental and Social Entrepreneurship, scheduled for March 7 on the campus of Purdue University. Students will make a 10-minute presentation on their product, which should be designed to fill an environmental or community need. They then will have 15 minutes for questions from a panel of judges. Prizes totaling $10,000 will be awarded to the best concepts.

Presentations, which are open to the public, will be made from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Deans Auditorium at Pfendler Hall. "These Purdue teams, made up of graduate or undergraduate students from many different disciplines, are working to develop a service, process or product that addresses a particular problem related to environmental sustainability," said competition coordinator Brent Ladd, director of learning and engagement for Discovery Park's Center for Environment. "As you can see, the concepts from the six finalists are incredibly creative and innovative, ranging from self-powered exercise equipment to a net-zero energy greenhouse."

The finalists, drawn from a list of more than two-dozen inquiries and submissions from across the Purdue campus, are: * FreeLectric, an exercise equipment concept that generates electricity for multiple uses. * New Soul Green Computer Design, a workstation that eliminates the need for a keyboard and monitor. * Grow Green Innovations, a net-zero energy greenhouse that provides native landscaping options and education in the community. * Mission MatchUp, a social marketing service with built-in carbon credit tracking. * ZeroBalance, a consumer-conscious carbon offset service. * Sustainable Multipurpose Processing Facility, an innovative facility design serving local food production needs of processing a variety of foods and value-added items. The top Purdue team from the environmental event will advance to the National Idea-to-Product Competition for Social Entrepreneurship on April 4 at the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship in Purdue's Discovery Park.

During the regional competition, student presenters from Tecumseh Middle School also will highlight their ideas for solving environmental problems as part of the Lafayette school's "exploravision project," Ladd said.

Nancy Clement, director of Purdue's Social Entrepreneurship Initiative at the Burton Morgan Center, will lead an April 3 workshop in conjunction with the national event. The workshop, sponsored by Purdue and the Social Entrepreneurship and Education Consortium, will take place at Purdue's Stewart Center. Winners from the national event at Purdue advance to the Global Idea-to-Product Competition, which is scheduled for November at the University of Texas, Austin. Purdue's Social Entrepreneurship Initiative is a member of an international network of Idea-to-Product Competitions. Writer: Phillip Fiorini, (765) 496-3133, Sources: Brent Ladd, (765) 494-1949, Nancy Clement, (765) 494-9884, Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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