Winners of the eLab Student Entrepreneur Fellowship Competition stand with Provost Charles F. Zukoski in the Alfiero Center at the School of Management. Photo: Meredith Forrest Kulwicki
Matthew Mackintosh holds two biodegradable hemp plastic flower pots made by his company, Buffalo Hemp Co. Photo: Meredith Forrest Kulwicki
Bernard Cohen (left) and Joe Riciardi (right) stand with their prototype for Chip-Down, a portable, golf-inspired chipping game that uses a specially engineered, adjustable golf wedge. Photo: Meredith Forrest Kulwicki
Release Date: May 22, 2017
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Five University at Buffalo startups were selected to receive the Student Entrepreneur Fellowship after pitching their ideas to a panel of judges at the UB School of Management on May 12.
The Student Entrepreneur Fellowship Competition is the culmination of the Entrepreneurship Lab (eLab), a boot-camp-style business course that gives students from any academic discipline the skills to develop and manage a successful new venture. Students evaluate their ideas throughout the course, learning every step of the startup process and attending guest lectures from entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, consultants and business lawyers.
During the course, students attended a Western New York Venture Association pitch session to network with angel investors and met with entrepreneurs from 43North and Z80 Labs at the Dig co-working space in Buffalo.
The individuals or teams selected for the Student Entrepreneur Fellowship will each receive a prize of $5,000, a shared space at UB Business and Entrepreneur Partnerships (BEP), mentorship and other professional services.
This year’s winners are:
Daniel Wai Khei Chan for Buffalo Auto Harvest, a machine that automates the apple picking process for family-owned orchards; Matthew Mackintosh for Buffalo Hemp, a company focused on replacing toxic plastic products with biodegradable hemp plastic; Bernard Cohen and Joseph Ricciardi for Chip-Down, a portable, golf-inspired chipping game that uses a specially engineered, adjustable golf wedge.
Also, Amir Baghdadi for MotionSurveil, a safety monitoring system that uses smartphones to predict physical fatigue in workers or athletes; and Mohammad Hossein Ansari for Source Technology, a piezoelectric energy harvester that converts the heart vibrations into the electricity needed for powering a pacemaker.
“The eLab allowed us to conceive, develop and pursue our idea,” says Bernard Cohen of Chip-Down. “We received much needed guidance, encouragement and validation. I can confidently say that taking this class was one of the best decisions I have made in my graduate studies career.”
The School of Management offers the eLab in partnership with the BEP, with additional funding provided through an anonymous donation to the School of Management.
The course is taught by Yong Li, associate professor of strategy and entrepreneurship in the School of Management, along with Martin Casstevens, business formation and commercialization manager, BEP.
The eLab is part of a growing ecosystem of entrepreneurship initiatives at UB, including the Panasci Technology Competition, which brings together UB students from science, technology, business and other disciplines to maximize their potential and create viable businesses in Western New York. In addition, the School of Management’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership helps area entrepreneurs hone their skills through a variety of programs, and UB’s Entrepreneurship Academy harnesses students’ creative and innovative spirit. And, through Blackstone LaunchPad at UB, students, faculty, staff and alumni can receive coaching network and entrepreneurial support.