News

Improved Bicycle Helmet takes top e-fest award

MINNEAPOLIS, APRIL 9 -- Two engineering students from Virginia Tech have won the $100,000 top prize at e-Fest for their stylish, ultra-portable and safe bicycle helmet.

The helmet, made by their venture "Park and Diamond," aims to save lives by offering the world's millions of bicyclists protective headgear that they will actually want to wear. Students David Hall and Jordan Klein developed a helmet that resembles a baseball cap rather than the bulky, clunky, hard-to-stow helmets on the market today.  Along with being attractive and packable, the helmet is made from advanced composites and has been performance tested using Consumer Products Safety Commission standards.

"The number one reason that people don't wear helmets is aesthetics," the students noted in their presentation, citing careful, rigorous research.  Uncomfortable fit and portability are other major deterrents, they found.

"We've designed a helmet that seamlessly fits in your life, rather than being a bulky, inconvenient thing that you carry around with you," they added. "We are creating something that has gone from stigmatized to stylized."

Along with the students' prize, e-Fest also awarded Virginia Tech $10,000 to support their entrepreneurship education programs.

The second prize at e-Fest went to Northeastern University students Johnny Fayad and Ali Kothari for "Eat Your Coffee," a tasty caffeinated snack for students and others who need a caffeine fix but don't have time to pick up coffee. That innovation won $50,000, with an additional $5,000 going to Northeastern.  Third place went to Chris Maurice of Auburn University for YellowCard, a digital currency similar to bitcoin, but with many features that make it less challenging to use, especially for those traveling in other countries. Maurice won $25,000 and an additional $5,000 for Auburn.

Judges at e-Fest selected the three winners from 25 finalists, chosen from an original pool of more than 160 teams from 81 schools who submitted seven-minute videos and 12 slides describing their business ideas. Featured speakers at e-Fest included Best Buy Co. founder Richard M. Schulze and "Shark Tank" TV show regular Daymond John, founder of FUBU, the urban clothing company that grew into a $6 billion brand.

The largest undergraduates-only business plan competition (as measured by the size of the cash awards), e-Fest is co-sponsored by the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship, Opus College of Business at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis and EIX.org, an online learning platform for entrepreneurs, students and professors.

finalist teams chosen for e-Fest

MINNEAPOLIS, March 10, 2017 – Twenty-five undergraduate student teams from universities around the U.S. have been selected to participate in “e-Fest,” a competition that will award more than $200,000 in grants and scholarships for the best undergraduate business ideas, April 6-8 in Minneapolis.

The finalist teams were chosen from a pool of more than 160 teams from 81 schools who submitted seven-minute videos and 12 slides describing their business ideas. A panel of 32 judges selected the finalists, who will receive travel stipends and hotel accommodations for the final round.

The largest undergraduates-only business plan competition (as measured by the size of the cash awards), e-Fest is co-sponsored by the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship, Opus College of Business at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis and EIX.org, an online learning platform for entrepreneurs, students and professors. Featured speakers April 6-8 will include Best Buy Co. founder Richard M. Schulze and "Shark Tank" TV show regular Daymond John, founder of FUBU, the urban clothing company that grew into a $6 billion brand.

Students with the three best business ideas will receive $100,000, $50,000 and $25,000 in prizes. An additional $10,000, $5,000 and $2,500 in grants will go to their universities to support entrepreneurship education. A Friday night Innovation Challenge will award $20,000, $10,000 and $5,000 in scholarships to the top three student teams that develop the best solution to a business challenge posed that evening.

More information about the competition, including rules and rubrics for judging, can be found here. The competition will take place at the Schulze School, located at 1000 LaSalle Avenue in Minneapolis.

A list of the finalists can be found here, and more information about e-Fest rules and rubrics can be found here.

More than 80 colleges will compete in e-fest

 

 

MINNEAPOLIS, February 14, 2017 -- A total of 82 colleges and universities have registered one or more student teams for the e-Fest competition, which will be the largest undergraduate business plan competition based on the value of the prizes.

Each team must submit a seven-minute video and 12 slides describing its business idea by Feb. 17. Judges in March will select 25 student teams as finalists to attend e-Fest on April 6-8 in Minneapolis. The finalists will receive $2,000 travel stipends and hotel accommodations.

Students with the three best business ideas will receive $100,000, $50,000 and $25,000 in prizes. An additional $10,000, $5,000 and $2,500 in grants will go to their universities to support entrepreneurship education. A Friday night Innovation Challenge will award $20,000, $10,000 and $5,000 in scholarships to the top three student teams that develop the best solution to a business challenge posed that evening.

Featured speakers will include Best Buy Founder and Chairman Emeritus Richard M. Schulze and "Shark Tank" regular Daymond John, founder of the $6 billion FUBU clothing empire.

Click here to read more about e-Fest

Momentum Building for E-Fest

MINNEAPOLIS, December 16, 2016 -- More than four dozen colleges and universities from 25 states have signed up for E-Fest, a three-day student competition offering more than $250,000 in grants and scholarships.

E-Fest, sponsored by the Richard M. Schulze School of Entrepreneurship and EIX.org and hosted at the University of St Thomas, will celebrate 25 student teams who submit the best business ideas in a preliminary competition. Set for April 6-8, 2017 in Minneapolis, it will feature workshops, an Innovation Challenge and keynote speeches from Schulze himself, who is founder and chairman emeritus of Best Buy, Inc., and "Shark Tank" regular Daymond John, founder of FUBU. The 25 student teams will receive $2,000 travel stipends and hotel will be provided.

Student teams must submit a seven-minute video and 12 slides describing their idea by February 17, 2017. Click here for more information about E-Fest.

EIX.org Video Library is Now Closed-Captioned, and Searchable

MINNEAPOLIS, November 9, 2016 -- Entrepreneur & Innovation Exchange’s video interviews with top entrepreneurs now include closed captioning, which makes them more searchable and accessible to a wider audience.

The Federal Communications Commission requires that television programs have closed captioning. The FCC points out that captioning benefits people who are deaf or have hearing loss, and is also very helpful in restaurants, fitness centers and other places where it is difficult to hear a TV program. FCC rules now require captioned programs shown on TV to be captioned when re-shown on the Internet.

While online resources such as EIX.org are not required to provide it, we feel that closed captioning makes our content more available to people with hearing issues and to those who would rather read than listen. It also makes it possible for viewers to search by specific terms and zero in on the EIX.org content that is most useful. Using the search feature will show the exact places in a video where the search terms are spoken.

To look through our library of interview videos and to try a search, visit this page. The search function is at the top right.

E-Fest competition to award more than $250,000 in grants and scholarships

MINNEAPOLIS, November 2, 2016 – Undergraduate college students from around the country will have the chance to compete for over $250,000 in grants and scholarships at a three-day celebration of undergraduate entrepreneurship April 6-8, 2017, in Minneapolis.

E-Fest, sponsored by the Richard M. Schulze School of Entrepreneurship at the University of St. Thomas, and EIX.org, a non-profit online platform for entrepreneurship education, will celebrate 25 student teams who submit the best business ideas in a preliminary competition. The event will feature workshops, an Innovation Challenge and keynote speeches from Schulze himself, who is founder and chairman emeritus of Best Buy, Inc., and Daymond John, founder of FUBU and a regular on television’s "Shark Tank." The 25 student teams will receive $2,000 travel stipends and hotel will be provided.

Awarding Entrepreneurial Excellence

Students with the three best business ideas will receive $100,000, $50,000 and $25,000, respectively, in prizes, with an additional $10,000, $5,000 and $2,500 in grants going to their respective universities to support entrepreneurship education. A Friday night Innovation Challenge will respectively award $20,000, $10,000 and $5,000 in scholarships to student teams who develop the best solution to a business challenge posed that evening.

How to Enter

Entrants must develop and submit a seven-minute video and 15-slide presentation slides detailing their business ideas by February 17, 2016. Visit EIX.org for complete entry information and contest rules.

As the preliminary competition gets underway, EIX and the Schulze Family Foundation will award up to 100 development grants of $2,500 each to institutions to support developing teams for the Business Idea Competition.

More information on applying for those grants is available on www.EIX.org.

EIX.org Names New Schulze Professors, Honors Educators

MINNEAPOLIS, September 10, 2016 -- At its annual conference on September 9, EIX.org named two new Schulze Professors: Ethan Mollick of the Wharton School of Business at University of Pennsylvania; and Brent Goldfarb of Robert H. Smith School of Business at University of Maryland.

Schulze Professors are considered thought leaders in the field of entrepreneurship. Mollick was recognized for his pioneering work in crowd funding and Goldfarb was recognized because of his research into policies and incentives that promote startups. The two new professors will receive research stipends to assist their efforts. The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, which funds EIX.org, also provides the stipends. To see the full list of Schulze Professors click here.

EIX.org also named two professors as its 2016 Entrepreneurship Educators of the Year: Michael H. Morris, of the Warrington School of Business at University of Florida; and Heidi Neck of Babson College. The Schulze Entrepreneurship Educator Awards are awarded annually to outstanding teachers in the field of entrepreneurship. This year’s honored educators received $15,000.

Morris has argued compellingly for improved quality and substance in universities’ entrepreneurship programs, as well as for independence from university bureaucracies and a focus on entrepreneurial thinking rather than on the number of startups. Neck’s interests include entrepreneurship education, entrepreneurship inside organizations, and creative thinking. She is also the lead author of Teaching Entrepreneurship: A Practice-Based Approach.

Watch Morris' presentation

Watch Neck's presentation

EIX.org mourns loss of M.B. Sarkar

It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of one of our esteemed editors, Professor M.B. Sarkar of Temple University.

Dr. Sarkar was our colleague and friend. Entrepreneur and Innovation Exchange (EIX) exists today because of Dick Schulze’s vision and support, and because of the acclaimed entrepreneurship thinkers like Dr. Sarkar who have served as our authors and editors. As a newly launched project over the past three years, EIX benefited from Dr. Sarkar’s eagerness to help and his understanding of innovation, emerging trends, and how to use knowledge and feedback to create strategic organizational advantages.

Many of us at EIX will remember his insightful comments and discussions with great fondness. His students and peers will remember his personable, engaging manner. We are not surprised that Dr. Sarkar earned recognition as an outstanding teacher and an excellent researcher, winning Temple University’s highest teaching honor, the Great Teacher Award, in 2013. He also received the Best Paper Award from the Academy of Management Journal in 2004. Throughout his career, he embraced leadership roles and helped create new organizations, ensuring a legacy that will endure. Despite his lofty international reputation as a thought leader, Dr. Sarkar was never out of reach when a student or colleague needed his perspectives and advice.

Entrepreneurship & Innovation Exchange and the Richard M Schulze Family Foundation is pleased to make a $2,500 gift to Temple University to be used for a scholarship in memory of Dr. Sarkar. Our deepest sympathies go to his wife Tanu and their daughters Mohenna and Aeshna, to his colleagues and friends – and to the many who will miss his keen insights and his inspiration.

Dr. Sarkar’s obituary can be read here.

EIX Announces Winners of first Student Venture Competition

Entrepreneur and Innovation Exchange has announced six undergraduate and graduate school winners of its first annual Student Venture Competition.

The online competition, which awards a total of $50,000 in grants, is designed to reward and encourage students’ innovative ideas for new products or services. The students pitched their ideas in seven-minute videos, submitted to eiexchange.com. Judges awarded points based on factors such as how well the new offering addressed a market need, the size of the market, staffing requirements for the new company, the need for venture capital, marketing plans and other aspects of the business.

“Our inaugural competition attracted strong entries showing very innovative thinking from these student entrepreneurs,” said Brian Abraham, Associate Dean at the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship at University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, who coordinated the competition.

Judges chose three winners in each of the two categories, undergraduate and graduate. First-place winners in each group receive $10,000 in grants, with an additional $3,000 going to their school. Second-place winners receive $5,000, with another $2,500 going to their school. Third-place winners receive $2,500, with another $2,000 going to their school.

The undergraduate winners for 2016 include:

First place: “Vaylenx: a Novel Approach to Vector-Borne Disease,” Noah Rosenblatt and Kate Clausen, Ohio University.

Second place: “Coach Tech,” Kit Snyder, Austin Harrington and Jack Kaiser of University of St. Thomas

Third place, “Unique Pontoons,” Jeremy Little, University of St. Thomas

Graduate winners include:

First place: “Pure Paani – Mobile Water Filters,” Christopher Bulkley-Logston, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Second place: “Cap-a-Growler,” James Quillen and Chris Wilhelm, University of Alabama

Third place: “Teach a Veteran to Fish,” Christopher Hicks, Texas Tech.

EIX’s Student Venture Competition will return in early 2017.

Announcing the 2016 EIX Student Venture Competition

MINNEAPOLIS, February 1, 2016 - Undergraduate and graduate students around the U.S. now have the opportunity to win grants for themselves and their schools, through EIX’s first student competition.

This virtual competition, run entirely on the EIX online platform, invites students to submit seven-minute videos that outline an idea for a new product or service. The plan must be for a new offering that was either introduced after March 1, 2015 or has not been launched yet.

A total of $50,000 in grants will be awarded: $25,000 to top undergraduate ideas and their schools, and $25,000 to top graduate ideas and their schools. The grants will be awarded to the three best ideas submitted in each of the undergraduate and graduate categories. Judges will focus primarily on the strength of the idea, rather than how the video looks.

Students are invited to participate in this totally virtual competition by submitting their seven-minute video from March 1 to April 11, 2016. EIX’s judges will then choose the top three videos from each of the undergraduate and graduate groups, and announce the finalists on April 18. In the second round of judging, finalists will be asked to re-submit edited videos by May 1, and judges will choose the first, second and third place winners.  The winners will be announced by May 8.

Judges will score points from 0 to 100 to each pitch, considering factors such as how well the new offering addresses a market need, the size of the market, staffing requirements for the new company, the need for venture capital, marketing plans and other aspects of the business.

First-place winners in each group will receive a $10,000 grant, and another $3,000 will go to their school. Second-place winners will receive $5,000, with another $2,500 going to their school. Third-place winners will receive $2,500, with another $2,000 going to their school.

To sign up, first create an account with EIX. Each member of the team will need to create a free account with EIX and upload a photo.

Contest Rules

Eligibility: EIX’s student competition is opened to all registered undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at a U.S. college or university. Your new product or service must be pre-launch or introduced after March 1, 2015.

What to Enter: A seven-minute video that describes your new product or service. The time length must be seven minutes or less and the file size under 1 GB. 

How to Enter: Uploading instructions and an entry form will be available on the EIX home page by March 1, 2015. Each student on the team will need to create a free account with EIX and upload a photo. Your video should be accompanied by 1-3 paragraphs of text.

Timetable: Finished videos should be submitted no earlier than March 1, 2016 and no later than April 11, 2016. Winners will be announced on the EIX site by May 8, and the winning videos will be published on EIX.

Judging: EIX judges will review the videos and announce the top three undergraduate and top three graduate entries on April 18. Those six finalists will have between April 18 and May 1 to edit their videos and re-submit them by midnight on May 1.  The judges will then choose the first, second and third-place winners in each category and announce the winners on May 8.

What’s important: The substance and novelty of your idea matters more than how your video looks. Judges will consider these factors when they evaluate your idea:

  • How well you identified the opportunity and the forces behind it
  • Core concept for the business, value proposition, product and service mix
  • Market size and potential, target audience, purchase decision maker and process.
  • Economics, such as margins, breakeven, cost structure and how you will make your money.
  • Operations: staffing requirements, how products/services will be produced, delivered and supported, logistics, inventory.
  • Non-financial resource requirements such as people, facilities, locations, etc.
  • Your management team
  • Venture financing required, and how investors will receive their return
  • Financials, including a cash flow statement, income statement and balance sheet.

Ideas: This slide show depicts what a great presentation should include; and this EIX article shows how to make a great pitch.

Note: Videos may be published on the EIX site.

Schulze Foundation Commits $500,000 Annually to Entrepreneurship

MINNEAPOLIS, September 23, 2015 – There were no business incubators or entrepreneurship programs when Dick Schulze, founder of Best Buy, struggled to launch his start-up in 1966.

That experience, in large part, is why the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation is announcing one of the most comprehensive philanthropic commitments to date to help secure the future of entrepreneurship in America. The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation will support the study and practice of next-generation entrepreneurs by committing $500,000 annually in the form of student scholarships, fellowships, professorships, and a free online innovation exchange as part of its entrepreneurship initiative.

“Entrepreneurship is valuable to our shared future – too valuable to leave to chance,” said Schulze. “Emerging entrepreneurs – especially those like me from working-class backgrounds – don’t have ready access to the current thinking and tools to meet the rigors involved in launching a new venture. We hope to change that through this initiative.”

On September 19, the foundation granted professorship awards to accomplished entrepreneurship educators from four leading national universities: Stanford University, the University of Minnesota, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Northeastern University.

The foundation’s $500,000 annual commitment is over and above the $50 million founding gift that Schulze and his family made in 2000 to establish the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship in Schulze Hall at the University of St. Thomas’ Minneapolis campus. The foundation continues to provide significant annual support to the Schulze School.

Innovative Technology Platform Connects Entrepreneurs with Best Thinking and Tools

The “connective tissue” of the foundation’s entrepreneurship initiative is the Entrepreneur & Innovation Exchange (EIX), which formally launched at the EIX’s first annual conference Saturday at the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship.

EIX is a free online, interactive resource that connects entrepreneurs and students with leading scholars and consultants, successful entrepreneurs and one another, according to Jim Wetherbe, EIX editor in chief and an entrepreneurship professor at Texas Tech University. “The EIX platform breaks the mold and limitations of traditional print journals,” said Wetherbe, who played a key role creating the premiere print journal for the IT world while at the University of Minnesota starting in 1980. “It brings path-breaking research and ideas forward in a matter of days and weeks, rather than months and years, and it makes full use of Internet and social media technology to bring those ideas alive for everyone to access and use.” EIX is fully funded by the Schulze Family Foundation as part of this new entrepreneurship initiative.

Professorships, Scholarships and More

In addition to EIX, the foundation’s entrepreneurship initiative will award up to 10 Richard Schulze Distinguished Professorships to leading scholars in the field. Distinguished Professors will receive research stipends of $50,000 annually over a three-year renewable term. Upon completion of their professorship, they become lifetime emeritus members of the Schulze Distinguished Professorship program.

At the September 19 EIX conference, the foundation awarded professorships to the following four entrepreneurship professors: Charles Eesley of the Stanford School of Business; Daniel Forbes of the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota; Jonathan Eckhardt of the Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Wisconsin – Madison School of Business; and Kimberly Eddleston of the D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University.

The inaugural Distinguished Professor award, announced in June, was made to Professor James Wetherbe, a Distinguished Alumnus of New Mexico State and member of its Hall of Fame. The foundation plans to award five more professorships in 2015.

Other commitments of the foundation’s new initiative include:

  • Schulze Awards for Publication -- The Schulze Awards will grant $25,000 annually to students or professionals in recognition of published entrepreneurship submissions of exceptional merit. Awards will be given to the winners’ chosen college or university as a scholarship donation.
  • Schulze Student Scholarships -- The foundation will award $10,000 scholarship grants each year to five students who present the most innovative and entrepreneurial video proposals in response to an entrepreneurship challenge.
  • Schulze Doctoral Fellowships -- Fellowships of $10,000 each will be awarded annually to five doctoral candidates studying entrepreneurship topics, based on dissertations that further understanding of new ventures and entrepreneurship.

About the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation

The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation was created in 2004 by Best Buy founder and chairman emeritus Dick Schulze to benefit the lives of middle- and working-class families through entrepreneurial investments in education, health and human services that have the capacity to produce measurable and transformative results. The foundation is committed to investing $1 billion in grants to non-profit organizations primarily in the Greater Minneapolis-St. Paul area, where Best Buy began and where Schulze raised his family, and in the Greater Naples-Fort Myers area where Schulze resides.

 

Nationally Recognized Educator and Entrepreneur is a Top Scholar

MINNEAPOLIS, June 1, 2015 -- The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation has named Professor James Wetherbe as the inaugural recipient of its Distinguished Professor of Business Award. A three-year renewable research stipend of $50,000 annually will support his scholarly work and research.

Nationally recognized for his significant contributions to the fields of information technology and entrepreneurship, Wetherbe is completing a 15-year appointment as the Robert Stevenson Chaired Professor of Information Technology at the Jerry S. Rawls College of Business, Texas Tech University. He is a Distinguished Alumnus at Texas Tech and has endowed two Wetherbe Professorships.

He previously served as FedEx Professor of Excellence in IT at the University of Memphis, Tennessee, as well as a professor of management information systems (MIS) at the University of Minnesota, where he directed the MIS Research Center and was publisher of the MIS Quarterly, the top-ranked MIS journal. He started his academic career on the faculty at the University of Houston. 

Wetherbe has authored or co-authored 35 books, including multiple editions, and is widely published in leading journals; he has been cited over 10,000 times. He was rated as one of the top 12 consultants and lecturers in MIS by Information Week, as well as one of the 20 most influential scholars, and was co-recipient of the first MIS Quarterly Distinguished Scholars Award. 

Wetherbe has held management positions with computing, energy and consulting companies, and has served on multiple boards of directors, including start-ups. He also founded a consulting, publishing and software company. 

“I’m deeply honored to be the first recipient of this distinguished professorship,” said Wetherbe, recognized by the Best Buy Board of Directors for his 15 years of distinguished service. His board service provided a vantage point into Schulze’s values and priorities, including advocacy for entrepreneurship—and philanthropy—something that Wetherbe and his wife Brynn put into practice.

This year the couple completed their gift of an interfaith spiritual center to New Mexico State University, Wetherbe’s undergraduate alma mater where he is also a Distinguished Alumnus.

“Dick taught me some of the most meaningful lessons of my career,” Wetherbe said. “I gained compelling insight into courage and dogged determination that does not compromise principles or accept failure as an option.” Today, Wetherbe says, he makes a practice of applying Schulze’s trademark passion for customer service to his students.

Wetherbe is the founding editor-in-chief of a new thought leadership platform, Entrepreneur & Innovation Exchange (EIX), a philanthropic initiative by the Schulze Family Foundation aimed at encouraging and facilitating entrepreneurship. 

This free, open-access resource for students, faculty and practitioners upends the traditional limitations of scholarly business journals by spreading new ideas and important research freely and quickly. The editorial board of EIX includes some of today’s most respected thought leaders in entrepreneurship from both academia and industry.

“I think of EIX as an ‘intellectual amusement park’ where people can go to learn about exciting and encouraging new developments in innovation and entrepreneurship,” Wetherbe said.

Only one in 23 entrepreneurial ventures succeeds. The stated goal of EIX—and of the Foundation’s new Distinguished Professor of Business—is to improve those odds for the next generation of aspiring entrepreneurs.