Wayne State University

Six Wayne State University student teams pursuing entrepreneurial dreams

DETROIT—What do six student groups plus six great entrepreneurial ideas equal? Wayne State University officials think it may be a key to boosting our economy and the start of great careers for their students.

With the launch of a new student program, E2Challenge, WSU is supporting six student teams, with the help of funding from the Michigan Initiative for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, in their efforts to explore the potential of their own start-up company and prepare their ideas for outside investment over the course of the summer.

Twenty-six student teams competed for six slots to receive summer-long mentoring and support for their company ideas. Each selected group is given the opportunity to pursue their own independent start-up company over the summer at TechTown, while receiving substantial guidance and assistance, with each team member receiving $7,500 over the course of the program.

“It is important that we find creative ways to inspire our student body to consider starting their own new ventures as a viable career option,” said Eric Stief, director of Venture Development and the E2Challenge program at WSU. “Typically our graduates focus more on finding traditional employee roles, and do not give new company formation much thought. Plus, many parents try to shy their kids away from an entrepreneurial life right after college because of the great difficulty to get a company off the ground. By giving students a chance to consider an entrepreneurial path before they graduate, we may be able to launch students into career paths they may not have considered otherwise.”

WSU’s goal to retain talent in Michigan and boost our economy may be aided through this extraordinary program. The E2Challenge aims to identify solid entrepreneurial ideas that lead to future startup companies for the State of Michigan and also aims to foster the entrepreneurial spirit on campus. Examples of the E2Challenge projects include:

Couture-Abro Group: Looking for a dream job? Love to travel? The Couture-Abro Group has a plan for you! The group is developing a Web-based firm to offer a new form of marketing in the travel industry.
Through the Web site, TheBigTrip.com, the group will select one candidate to travel and explore various destinations around the United States for three months. The journey will be documented, filmed and aired as mini-episodes on TheBigTrip.com. Each mini-episode will contain interactive links to help common travel consumers with information to aid them in planning their journeys. All this, $50,000 and more! Video resumes are being accepted at http://www.thebigtrip.com!

WD Time Line: WD Time Line will aim to provide commuter and commercial drivers with valuable real-time transit time estimations at critical intersections with a cost-effective and unique telematics platform. The company utilizes both proprietary and publicly available data to provide customers with superior accuracy at lower prices than competitive offerings. The simplicity of WD Time Line alone will appeal to customers of all ages.
The firm intends to focus initially in the southeast Michigan market for its launch in late 2009. The business model is highly scalable however, and the team anticipates multiple site launches in 2010 and beyond. For more information, email wdtimeline@techtown.org.

Team: C.O.O.L.: C.O.O.L. (Creative Online Opportunities for Learning), an online course content provider for the K-12 environment, is developing a flagship product which will be a hybrid online course for ninth-graders. The product aims to improve student self-efficacy and increase student high school graduation rates by motivating the student, building-up learning networks and providing lifelong learning skills. The course will be a combination of face-to-face and online learner-centered activities facilitated by a trained staff member.
A secured social networking interface will allow students to make connections with other C.O.O.L students and serve as the platform to deliver academic and character content. The course will culminate in the creation of an e-portfolio. C.O.O.L. will be available through a subscription service on both an annual and biannual basis. Upgrades and customization also will generate revenues. Individuals, schools, school districts and youth organizations are targeted subscribers to the service. For more information, e-mail happycoolschool@gmail.com.

Team: Qisol: With the rising interest in green energy and the dire economic situation in the United States, Qisol aims to build trust and confidence regarding profitability and green investments in the emerging small-scale solar thermal industry. They plan to accurately and reliably meter, calculate and log the energy produced and efficiency gained from low-temperature, residential, solar thermal domestic hot water preheating installations.

Qisol will have a central clearinghouse through wireless networks and SmartGrid technologies, and its flagship product is called ProveYourProfit (PYP). PYP is a physical meter that handles the data necessary to integrate three currently separate business functions: data logging, transmission of ‘third-party’ verified data and subscription reporting.

Qisol will verify, package and deliver formatted information that will be beneficial to owners, installers and governmental and private regulating agencies. It will provide information such as return on solar thermal subsides (tax credits), verification that the product is working as intended and remote diagnosis by repair technicians of sub-optimal performance of the solar hot water system. Visit www.qisol.com for more information.

Team: BeeLogic: BeeLogic will provide environmental relations by specializing in analysis, reduction procurements, and the network of quality environmental services and suppliers. BeeLogic's system implements affordable environmental management techniques to satisfy its client base. “Pollination” of business, education and the environment helps to blossom environmentally efficient clients. Using the company’s logic to localize markets reduces the ecological impact and mobilizes business in the community, city and region. BeeLogic's understanding and practice of sustainable living creates transparent relationships by creating a closed loop method that interconnects the consumer and business into environmental relations. For more information, e-mail beelogic@techtownwsu.org.

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Wayne State University is one of the nation’s pre-eminent public research universities in an urban setting, ranking in the top 50 in R & D expenditures of all public universities by the National Science Foundation. Through its multidisciplinary approach to research and education, and its ongoing collaboration with government, industry and other institutions, the university seeks to enhance economic growth and improve the quality of life in the city of Detroit, state of Michigan and throughout the world. For more information, visit http://www.research.wayne.edu

For more information, contact Julie O'Connor at ag2712@wayne.edu or 313-577-8845.