Competition Puts Innovative UA Student Minds to the Test | Tech Parks Arizona
   The University of Arizona

Competition Puts Innovative UA Student Minds to the Test

(Tucson, Arizona) As part of the innovation ecosystem, the Arizona Center for Innovation (AzCI) launched the 2015 Perkins Coie Innovative Minds Challenge at the UA, a program to link UA students with business savvy mentors and help fund innovation. AzCI partnered with Innovate UA and intellectual property law firm Perkins Coie LLP to create the program, which opens opportunities for UA student entrepreneurs to take the next steps in building their businesses.

As entrepreneurship grows around the world, schools across the nation are honing in on what it takes to foster a culture of innovation. The University of Arizona (UA) is leading a generation of entrepreneurs with several initiatives that teach students how to take solutions for everyday problems and transform them into real-world businesses.

AzCI helps entrepreneurs, startups and emerging companies transform their ideas into successful ventures.  AzCI is a component of Tech Parks Arizona which is part of Tech Launch Arizona (TLA), an UA office of integrated teams creating an ecosystem of invention and commercialization throughout Arizona and beyond.

Innovate UA is providing an accelerator program that offers extensive mentorship for growing businesses and helps develop a viable business model that will be used as the foundation for these new companies.

Twenty-one student teams submitted their business ideas, and finalists will have the opportunity to bring their ideas through the Innovate UA accelerator program.  These teams will present their ventures on April 21, 2015 during the Innovative Minds Challenge Demo Day.  Student teams will compete for three cash prizes sponsored by Perkins Coie. AzCI sponsors winning teams to further their ventures through providing access to world-class office and lab space and one-on-one mentoring with business coaches.

The Innovative Minds Challenge is a catalyst for student-led businesses to validate their models and markets, to scale up, and to become successful and sustainable businesses.

Finalists accepted into the Challenge include:

ABA Specialists: Provides an all-encompassing data collection software to replace traditional methods of taking notes on paper, and other manual processes necessary for behavior analytics.

Agent Sage: Provides homebuyers and sellers an efficient and likeable agent while simultaneously feeding real estate agents valuable intelligence they can use to streamline home transactions.

ConnekT: Provides an efficient manner for students and tutors to find each other, decreasing the time it takes to match students with tutors while increasing the number of productive student-tutor connections.

Crate Crops: Provides K-12 and university schools with a platform for experiential STEM education using a combination of aquaponics, vertical gardening, and automation inside shipping containers.

Edible Optics: Provides exposure for children to the field of optical science through teaching kits containing edible parts based on a proprietary mix of ingredients.

Fast Table: Provides customers with the ability to "ping" their server when an unaddressed issue arises in their dining experience and allowing observation of trends in customer service.

Hurb: Provides a simple, safe, sleek, and fun hydroponic system that communicates with kids via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi in order to increase engagement and education for young students in the STEM field.

Infinurja: Provides low-cost, renewable electricity to underserved and underdeveloped areas to improve the standard of living and economic strength by using patent pending products.

LinkX: Provides increased access of life-improving and critical medications to patients through a framework of linking together community pharmacies.

The Smart Mason: Provides a smart kitchen scale utilizing the Mason Jar lid.

uNet: Provides users the ability to share contact info, custom tailor their online presences for different categories, and stay connected even when contact information changes.

Arizona Center for Innovation (AzCI) assists entrepreneurs in turning innovative ideas into successful businesses by providing facilities including office, wet and dry lab space and a structured business development program called Mentored Launch which includes a program of workshops, seminars and networking events.  The companies also receive individual coaching from mentors experienced in technology innovation, product development and business management.  AzCI is actively recruiting clients for its 2015 Mentored Launch Program.  For details on how to apply, please visit here.
AzCI is located at the UA Tech Park and is a component of Tech Parks Arizona which is part of Tech Launch Arizona, a University of Arizona initiative to create an ecosystem of invention, commercialization and impact.

Innovate UA is a program to foster a student-led culture of innovation and entrepreneurship across the entire campus at the University of Arizona.  Using a "student leadership" model, Innovate UA works to grow an authentic and lasting campus-wide culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.  The Innovate UA leadership team of directors, organizers and volunteers is made up of students drawn from all corners of campus and ensures that the work of Innovate UA remains relevant to the student body. Innovate UA operates a series of programs and partnerships including:

*              1000 Pitches Innovation Challenge where students submit short video pitches for innovative solutions or business ideas

*              Startup Weekend at UA is weekend-long, hands-on entrepreneurship experience where students work with industry professionals and mentors to find out if a startup ideas are viable.

*              Hack Arizona is UA's campus-wide hackathon brings together the most talented students from across campus and across the country for a weekend where teams build software, hardware and other tech solutions to challenges

*              Innovation & Maker Space is a partnership with UA Libraries and the Digital Humanities program to develop a new Innovation Lab and Maker Space inside the Science and Engineering Library.

*              Student Venture Accelerator provides selected student teams with extensive business development and support through idea validation, product development and growth.

Perkins Coie LLC is a premier technology-focused law firm. With over 1,000 lawyers in 19 offices across the United States and Asia, we represent great companies across a wide range of industries and stages of growth-from start-ups to FORTUNE 50 companies. We maintain a continuous focus on providing exceptional counsel to great companies and provide a full array of corporate, commercial litigation and intellectual property legal services to clients throughout the world.  Perkins Coie's Emerging Companies and Venture Capital practice is one of the nation's premier legal resources for venture-backed companies that have IP as a key value driver. Founders rely on us for guidance on company formation, IP protection and enforcement, corporate governance, financings (including IPOs), and strategic transactions, among others. Representing startups throughout the arc of a company's growth, our team provides the necessary insight to help entrepreneurs thrive in fast-paced, competitive environments. We also represent investors as they make, manage and divest investments in industries such as life sciences, Internet, software, digital media, retail, telecommunications and cleantech, among others. In its first two years of ranking law firms, U.S. News & World Report-Best Lawyers named us "Law Firm of the Year" for Venture Capital Law (2011-2013), an honor the publication will only give any firm two consecutive years. The publication has currently named us "Law Firm of the Year" for Patent Law for the second year in a row. Learn more about Perkins Coie's Emerging Companies and Venture Capital practice here.


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