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3 Purdue student-led teams will participate in national social entrepreneurship competition

April 13, 2010

Purdue University will serve as host of the 2010 national Idea to Product Competition for Social Entrepreneurship from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday (April 17) in Discovery Park's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, Room 121.

Twelve teams are slated to compete in the event, which challenges students to create a product concept using innovative technology with a marketing plan that outlines a roadmap to product commercialization.

Three student-led teams from Purdue are participating under the social entrepreneurship concepts Swirlz, Animation Speaks Louder and Universal Remote, said Nancy Clement, interim director of Purdue's Social Entrepreneurship Initiative at the Burton D. Morgan Center:

  • Swirlz, led by Purdue student Manaz Taleyarkhan of West Lafayette, Ind., and Indiana University business student Adel Minocherhomjee of La Jolla, Calif., is a product intended to encourage children to drink more milk.
  • Animation Speaks Louder — led by Jason Lestina of Fishers, Ind., and Marcus Oania of Aiea, Hawaii — is a computer software product addressing deaf education in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines.
  • Steered by Purdue students Aashish Simha, Ashwin Nair and Shreyas Parabhatendulkar, Universal Remote is a product created for individuals with various disabilities to remotely access home appliances.

Other teams are from Illinois Institute of Technology, Ohio State University, University of Virginia, Rose-Hulman University, Western Michigan University, Colorado State University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the University of California-San Diego. A team from Catholic University College of Ghana in Fiapre, located in northwest Africa, also is competing.

Teams will vie for $10,000, $8,000 and $2,000 awards. The National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) also is offering a scholarship to attend an upcoming Advanced Invention to Venture three-day workshop to help a team develop and advance their product to commercialization.

A poster session about the team concepts and the program, which is open to the public, is planned from 6-9 p.m. Friday (April 16) in the Purdue Memorial Union's Lafayette Room. Saturday's competition also is open to the public.

The Idea to Product Competition for Social Entrepreneurship is member of a consortium of universities adopting a product-feasibility approach as the first step in the commercialization process. Top teams from these competitions come together annually at the Global Idea to Product Competition held in November at the University of Texas at Austin. 

GlucaGo LLC, a life sciences company led by trio students from Purdue and Indiana universities, captured first place in the 2009 Global Idea to Product Competition, beating out 14 other teams and claiming the $10,000 top prize. That event in Austin, Texas, featured teams from 19 universities and eight countries.

Event sponsors include the Motorola Foundation and the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance.

Clement represents the Purdue Social Entrepreneurship Initiative at Discovery Park's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, which provides a pathway for commercialization of products created by students for non-profit organizations addressing social needs.


Writer: Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133,     



Related Web sites:

Purdue Social Entrepreneurship Initiative:

Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship:

Idea to Product Global Competition:

Discovery Park:





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