CONTACT: Tricia Dickinson, [email protected], 608-265-9005
MADISON – A dress made of rubber gloves, a xylophone constructed from PVC pipes and a coffee chiller fashioned out of discarded lab equipment were just three examples of entrepreneurial creativity submitted in this year’s Wiscontrepreneur 100-Hour Challenge, sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Office of Corporate Relations.
In the challenge, students receive a $15 voucher for materials from the UW-Madison Surplus With a Purpose (SWAP) shop and are given just 100 hours to make magic. With the clock running from Feb. 16-20, students go from drawing board to completed product with the hope of taking home a $300 cash prize in one of three categories: most money value generated, most social value and most creative.
Now in its fifth year, the contest is supported by a grant from the Kaufmann Foundation. More than 80 entries from individuals and teams at UW-Madison, UW-Whitewater and Edgewood College were submitted.
“We’re always impressed at the ingenuity and creativity displayed by our students,” says Allen Dines from the Office of Corporate Relations. “The 100-Hour Challenge gives them a chance to flex their entrepreneurial muscles and, hopefully, encourages them to pursue other entrepreneurship opportunities available on campus.”
This year, contestants also had the option to work on their creation at Sector67, a Madison-based machine/work shop that provides a space and equipment for work on next-generation technology, including software, hardware, electronics, art, sewing, pottery, glass and metalwork.
The most creative prize was awarded to Joe Powell and his “Foosball Chandelier,” which incorporates the toy “players” from old table foosball games, tubing and lighting to create an atmospheric and Badger-themed chandelier. In his video submission, Powell points out that the foosball pieces used in his creation were manufactured in 1983, making them older than he is.
Justin Reed and Dan Ludois earned most social value honors for their “Yard Accessory Power” project. The pair put their engineering skills to use in creating a wind turbine made from a film reel and plastic syringes. The turbine can be used to generate electricity in areas without ready access to power.
Two teams tied for most value generated. A group from UW-Whitewater led by Justin Nothem claimed the prize with a tongue-in-cheek snacking station, “The Super Bowl.” Created from a slide carousel, a fan mounting and lighting fixtures, the Super Bowl impressed judges with its practicality, potential and clever marketing campaign. Also taking honors in this category was Kody Habeck’s “Clean-seat,” an ingeniously engineered project that aims to solve a common dorm problem.
A People’s Choice Award of $100 was given to the team whose project was voted most popular in an online poll. It went to Jason Shapiro’s “The Old-Fashioned,” a beverage dispenser that allows for two drinks to be poured at the same time.
All of the entries can be viewed at http://challenge.wiscontrepreneur.org.
The Wiscontrepreneur 100-Hour Challenge is open to any student registered at a two- or four-year Wisconsin institution. Some 150 students participated, including students from UW-Whitewater, Edgewood College and 115 students in a UW-Madison class on entrepreneurship in society.