RALEIGH, N.C. – North Carolina State University’s Entrepreneurship Initiative held its Entrepreneurship Lecture Series (ELS) and annual Prometheus Group eGames Awards Ceremony Thursday afternoon at the McKimmon Center, thanks to the generous support of National Agents Alliance President and Chief Executive Officer Andy Albright and his wife Jane, the Huang Family Foundation and Lenovo.
“I was very excited to hear this year’s event was a huge success for N.C. State, the EI program and the students involved,” Andy Albright said. “I enjoy spending time around the bright, young minds at N.C. State. Jane and I wish we could have been there in person. I look forward to talking with some of the winners that will lead innovation in the United States for the next few decades. I congratulate them all and the EI program on achieving its purpose once again. Dr. Tom Miller, Heather Barbour and Jennifer Capps deserve a special mention for all their hard work and efforts with the program.”
The EI program encourages students to grow the entrepreneurial spirit by encouraging multi-disciplinary participation with faculty, staff, industry and students, in hopes of building a community within and beyond N.C. State that thrives on a creative, immersive entrepreneurial experience for all.
More than $30,000 in prize money was awarded at the event, two students walked away with new laptops donated by Lenovo and Coca-Cola also donated $1,500 to the EI program.
A total of 24 teams presented ventures and potential ventures to a panel of judges, who were faced with the daunting task of awarding prize money to multiple teams in four categories.
The event’s top prizes went to Critical Reload Device and Greensleeves.
CRD won first place in the design and prototype category for Trent Huffines’ project, which enables a handgun operator to instinctively reload his/her firearm with a single hand, should both hands be unavailable.
Greensleeves captured first place in the new venture challenge for its efforts in targeting some of society’s tough problems and looking for ways to make the world a better place.
Josh Whiton, founder and CEO of TransLoc, was the featured ELS speaker and helped award medals to the winning teams. Whiton, an N.C. State alumnus, is an entrepreneur with a bent for social and ecological reform. His company TransLoc helps makes mass transit easier to use. Already used by N.C. State and many others across the country, the company was awarded a contract to unify the Triangle region’s mass transit systems under its technology. The new system, an industry first, will provide information to the riders of these five transit systems via a single real-time interface.
A parallel entrepreneur, Whiton is involved in several other projects such as Raleigh City Farm, an urban farm in downtown Raleigh working to demonstrate that cities can compost their waste and grow their own food, thereby improving the physical, mental and spiritual health of urbanites. He believes the human mind is omnivorous and benefits from a broad intellectual diet.
During Whiton’s address, he encouraged students to see opportunities in the world that others might not, and to take advantage of the opportunities provided through the EI program.
“There’s a lot less tension now (at N.C. State) between your academic goals and your entrepreneurial goals (thank when I was a student here),” Whiton said. “That’s nice to see.”
Whiton credited N.C. State with changing his outlook through an entrepreneur’s guest speaking engagement on campus during his sophomore year. From that point on, he sought out similar guest speakers and his creative mind grew from there.
“I started thinking, ‘I can start this company,’” Whiton said. “My heart would race and I wanted to start companies. I thought, ‘Oh my goodness, I think I’m one of these people!’ And that’s what I did.”
The ELS is designed to showcase outstanding innovation and entrepreneurship among N.C. State alumni and partners. The lecture series is made possible by a grant from the Albrights. The goal of the EI program is to build a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship for N.C. State students through programs and opportunities that help prepare them to be North Carolina’s job creators and leaders of tomorrow.
“This series and the EI program fit a number of areas that I’m all about,” Albright said. “It’s tied to academics, which is important to us and I really think we are making a difference on the academic side of the University. It’s a big investment by us, but it’s an important one.”
ABOUT N.C. STATE
With more than 34,000 students and nearly 8,000 faculty and staff, North Carolina State University is a comprehensive university known for its leadership in education and research, and globally recognized for its science, technology, engineering and mathematics leadership.
NC State students, faculty and staff are focused. As one of the leading land-grant institutions in the nation, NC State is committed to playing an active and vital role in improving the quality of life for the citizens of North Carolina, the nation and the world.
ABOUT N.C. STATE ENTREPRENEURSHIP INITIATIVE
The Entrepreneurship Initiative (EI) at NC State distinguishes itself by encouraging multi-disciplinary participation on every level – faculty, staff, industry and outreach partners, and most importantly, students. With Dr. Tom Miller as its first executive director, the initiative was formed In July 2008 in response to the Chancellor’s call to “develop an educated an entrepreneurial work force.” NC State has long been widely recognized as a strong presence in the entrepreneurial community of the region. By organizing and energizing its efforts through the Initiative, NC State will provide a comprehensive springboard for ideas, projects, and partnerships. By leveraging its core strengths in science, engineering, and technology, NC State will develop entrepreneurial solutions to society’s current problems and future needs. Through the Initiative, individual entrepreneurial projects and programs throughout the university unite to provide students with top-tier resources and opportunities.
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