Innovation and Creativity are Rewarded at the 2020 Lulu eGames

2020 Lulu eGames

Excerpt from article by Monica Smith | Entrepreneurship News

The Lulu eGames, NC State’s largest annual startup competition, draws the attention of student and faculty entrepreneurs from across campus. This year 130+ entrepreneurs entered the competition to battle for over $100,000 in award money. A group of volunteer judges hand-picked 19 teams to advance to the second round of our highly competitive startup competition where student and faculty teams walked away with anywhere from $2,000 to $25,000. For the first time since its inception in 2009, winners were announced virtually via a Facebook Live video stream on April 8, 2020.

The competition is composed of two tracks – the student track, where solo-preneurs or teams can compete, and the Daugherty Endowment track, available to university spin-out companies. Student teams can compete across five different categories: Arts Venture, IBM Built on Cloud, Social and Environmental Impact, Design and Prototype and New Venture. 

Lulu eGames categories
Students compete in these 5 categories at the Lulu eGames.

First round participants are required to submit a robust application, covering 15 aspects of their business, along with a video pitch. After a round of deliberation, teams are selected to advance to the final round. Finalists are then evaluated on their business plan and final pitch they historically deliver in front of live judges and a live audience at Stewart Theater in Talley Student Union. However, this year, things were far from normal. 

About 3 weeks shy of the live competition, the university released a memo in response to COVID-19,  closing or significantly limiting core services and facilities at the university and limiting the amount of students on campus. This meant there were only two options for this year’s event – cancel the competition or prepare a virtual “plan B”. But canceling the competition was not an option for NC State Entrepreneurship. 

“We felt that it was important to think creatively and come up with a way to complete the competition and reward the students who had worked so hard to prepare,” said Tom Miller, senior vice provost and executive director of NC State Entrepreneurship.  “We also thought that announcing the winners via Facebook Live would provide a welcome respite to the Wolfpack community, which was reeling with difficult impacts of the pandemic.”

In times like these, it is invaluable to think like an entrepreneur, view challenges as opportunities, use creativity, and above all, find ways to create value.

This is why it is more important than ever to support our student entrepreneurs and award their innovation and creativity. “Think and do, that’s what NC State is all about” said Miller, and the eGames are a perfect example of how students are fulfilling that motto. 

Ritika Shamdasani ’23, co-founder of Sani, a sister-owned South Asian fashion label focused on South Asian American women and this year’s grand prize winner of $15,000 stated, “we are so grateful that eGames continued to host the competition despite the uncertainty right now. As a small business, we have been hit hard by the pandemic like many others. This eGames award has made it possible for us to still push forward in many ways so that we can bounce back stronger than ever.”

Check out the Park Scholars among the 2020 Lulu eGames Winners:

Arts

1st place – $5,000 | Sani: A South Asian fashion label focused on South Asian American women.
Team member: Ritika Shamdasani ’23

Design and Prototype

2nd place  –$3,000 | Summit Kinetics: Giving the freedom of movement back to those in need via a passive lower-body exoskeleton.

Team members: Alyssa Cox ’20, Amy Hogan, Ethan Eldridge, Jennifer Lo ’20, Jacob Harris

3rd place – $2000 | Safe Crate: Dog crate aiming to reduce your pet’s anxiety during stressful times

Team members: Halen Mattison, Cloe Nichols, Justin Powers, Evan Grant ’20, Jalen McGee

New Venture

2nd place – $7,000 | Sani: A South Asian fashion label focused on South Asian American women.

Team member: Ritika Shamdasani ’23

3rd place – $5,000 | SafeCrate: Dog crate aiming to reduce your pet’s anxiety during stressful times

Team members: Halen Mattison, Cloe Nichols, Justin Powers, Evan Grant ’20, Jalen McGee

Social and Environmental Impact 

1st place – $5,000 | Summit Kinetics: Giving the freedom of movement back to those in need via a passive lower-body exoskeleton.

Team members: Alyssa Cox ’20, Amy Hogan, Ethan Eldridge, Jennifer Lo ’20, Jacob Harris

2nd place – $3,000 | Sani: A South Asian fashion label focused on South Asian American women.

Team member: Ritika Shamdasani ’23

Complete list of winners

A special thanks for all the sponsors that made the 2020 Lulu eGames possible:

  • Lulu
  • IBM
  • Murphy’s Naturals 
  • Rockridge Venture Law
  • Chiesi 
  • HQ Raleigh
  • NC State Business Sustainability Collaborative

 

This post was originally published in Entrepreneurship News.