March 10, 2009
This Old Farm captures environmental entrepreneurship competitionWEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A husband and wife team developing a facility for use by local farmers to process livestock and produce has won the right to represent Purdue University at next month's National Idea-to-Product Competition for Social Entrepreneurship.
This Old Farm: A Sustainable Multi-Purpose Processing Facility, led by Purdue students Erick and Jessica Smith, was the big winner over five other finalists Saturday (March 7) during Discovery Park's third annual regional Idea-to-Product Competition for Environmental & Social Entrepreneurship.
The Smiths won the $5,000 top prize and now advance to the national Idea-to-Product Competition, which is April 4 at Purdue's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship in Discovery Park, said regional competition coordinator Brent Ladd, outreach and education director for Purdue's Center for the Environment.
Capturing second and a $2,500 prize was the 10-member team Grow Green Innovations, a net-zero energy greenhouse that provides native landscaping options and education in the community. The team was led by building and construction management student Conrad Schneider. New Soul Green Computer Design, a workstation that eliminates the need for a keyboard and monitor, created by industrial design student Xi "Calvin" Chen, was third, winning $1,250.
"The judges had a tough time determining the regional winners because of the incredibly creative and innovative business concepts presented," Ladd said. "But the project This Old Farm clearly shined for its environmental benefits and its sharp social entrepreneurship strategies. They should fare well at the national Idea-to-Product event."
The Smiths hope to leverage this win, coupled with a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant, to expand their organic farm near Darlington, Ind., into a multiuse facility to process meat and vegetables from smaller farms. Erick is a Purdue graduate student in building and construction management, and Jessica received her bachelor's degree in biology from Purdue.
The other three teams competing Saturday were FreeLectric, an exercise equipment concept that generates electricity for multiple uses; MissionMatchUp, a social marketing service with built-in carbon credit tracking; and ZeroBalance, a consumer-conscious carbon offset service.
During Saturday's event in Pfendler Hall's Deans Auditorium, student presenters from Tecumseh Middle School also highlighted their ideas for solving environmental problems as part of the Lafayette school's "exploravision project."
For the upcoming national event, the 12 competing teams are encouraged to offer innovative ways for how their product or service can address broader social needs, said Nancy Clement, interim director of Purdue's Social Entrepreneurship Initiative in the Burton D. Morgan Center. Team leaders also must demonstrate how the product or service can compete locally and even globally.
"The regional and national competitions provide terrific platforms for these creative students to learn about entrepreneurship and how to identify, protect, develop and benefit from the intellectual property they create together," Clement said. "They also are able to think strategically about the broader social need and the most promising first market for their product or service."
Clement also will lead an April 3 workshop sponsored by Purdue and the Social Entrepreneurship and Education Consortium in conjunction with the National Idea to Product Competition. The workshop and competition, which are free and open to the public, are at the Burton Morgan Center.
Sponsors for the national competition and workshop are the Social Entrepreneurship and Education Consortium, National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance, Kauffman Foundation, and a National Science Foundation grant through the University of Texas, Austin.
Winners from the national event at Purdue advance to the Global Idea-to-Product Competition, which is scheduled for November at the University of Texas in Austin.
Writer: Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sources: Brent Ladd, 765-494-1949, email@example.com
Nancy Clement, 765-494-9884, firstname.lastname@example.org
Erick Smith, email@example.com
Conrad Schneider, firstname.lastname@example.org
Xi "Calvin" Chen, email@example.com
Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; firstname.lastname@example.org
Note to Journalists: Journalists who want to arrange an interview with any of the student-led teams that participated in the event can contact Phillip Fiorini, Purdue News Service, at (765) 496-3133, email@example.com
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