Starting in RIT’s Innovation Pipeline: RIT48
How does innovation happen? One way is to gather a group of diverse people to talk about problems and come up with a novel way to solve those problems. Sometimes the best growth happens when the group is focused and momentum and motivation are high.
So why not devote just 48 hours to solving a problem and see where things go? That’s the concept of the student-run RIT48 competition, held Nov. 22-24. Below is a story on the competition by Tiffany Lankes of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle:
The challenge: Come up with an idea, create a business plan and launch a web or mobile startup.
The catch: Do it all in 48 hours.
That was the goal of this weekend’s RIT48 contest, in which dozens of Rochester Institute of Technology students competed for $3,000 in prize money for coming up with their own businesses.
Most of the students already had their ideas when the contest started Friday. It was then up to them to form teams, make an initial pitch to judges and then come up with a prototype of their project. The projects were then reviewed by a panel of expert judges.
The competition brought together students from an array of academic backgrounds, with majors ranging from business and finance to programming.
“RIT has the all the diversity of students and programs that you need for a start-up company,” said Nikko Schaff, a student coordinating the competition.“What they accomplish in a short amount of time this weekend can possibly be an incentive to keep their ideas and products going.”
The event was started four years ago by two students who wanted to bring the campus together to collaborate and think creatively about practical business solutions.
For Raj Adhikari and his team, that idea was an application that matches customers with contractors who provide various home improvement services. The user can select the desired service, the date and time needed and the application matches them with a contractor the company has vetted.
“The process is streamlined,” said Adhikari, a first-year student. “It makes it really easy.”
“I absolutely love having challenges over a short period of time,” said his partner Kevin Hill, a third year student studying information technology.
Another team came up with an idea for a web site for eBay flippers that allows users to identify the hottest items trending on merchandising and online classified sites, compares prices and reports the best deals. The application is intended for people looking to purchase items on one site and resell them on another.
And another team came up with an application that allows users to post events or social gatherings and find other people interested in meeting up. For example, someone who wanted to meet new people for lunch could post the event and see if anyone else using the program was interested.
“When you are a freshman you can just walk down the hallway and say ‘You in,’ ” said Jason Smith, a sixth year student. “This is the hallway.”
As for the winners, the prize money could serve as seed money to go on and start the business.
But some of the participants had other ideas.
“Or buy margaritas,” Schoff said.
“Drinks on me,” Adhikari joked.
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