The Fox School of Business held its 7th Annual Idea Awards Ceremony in Speakman Hall Wednesday evening. The event honored the winners of the first of three stages in the Business Innovation Competition. In attendance were mentors, alumni, students, faculty and staff.
The event kicked off with a speech from featured guest Arnold Katz, president and founder of Brokerage Concepts Inc., the largest privately owned third party administrator and group brokerage operation in the world. During his speech Katz emphasized the power of knowledge. He had to repeat the third grade because he could not read.
“Now I read 96 publications a week, cover to cover,” said Katz, “and I learn more about my business everyday.” As he addressed the competitors, he told them his key to success.
“I surround myself with the best and the brightest; you are the next generation of the best and the brightest,” Katz said.
The night’s top three winners were chosen from more than 150 entries, and suited this description.
The first place prize went to certified public accountant Phyllis Ludwig, an MBA student graduating in July 2005.
Ludwig’s business plan, Cent$ible Kid$, was inspired by her own two children, ages 12 and 13. The plan is to improve financial literacy in kids. While shopping with her son and daughter, Ludwig noted that children do not have a good concept of money. She discussed the issue with teachers to find they did not have enough time to plan lessons on the topic. This is where Ludwig’s plan comes in. She has created a kit that can be marketed to teachers in any grade. The kit has preplanned, easily utilized lessons that include computer programs and videos.
When asked what she would do with her $500 prize, Ludwig said, “I will invest my prize money in some sort of marketing, either internet or brochures, for my business.”
Andrew Lee received the second place award and $250 for his company “Drink T.V.” He said he wanted to cash in on the TV industry with a channel devoted to liquid consumables.
“There seems to be a channel for everything else,” said Lee, “So why not beverages?”
The third place award and $125 prize went to junior Chris Farace for his “ear alarm” concept. Inspired by his light-sleeping mother, Farace designed a product with a two-fold sales approach. He noticed that although earplugs might help people block out noise and fall asleep they would also block out the alarm the next morning. Farces proposal was to create an ear plug with a built-in alarm to solve both problems.
The ceremony also included awards for the top engineering idea and the Business Leadership Academy Award, presented to a high school student involved in Temple business workshops. The engineer award was presented to the laser-based collision team whose product promoted consumer safety through accident prevention.
Jason Williams received the BLA Award for his “Q-lounge” concept. Williams’ goal is to create a place where teen-agers could go to create music and poetry in a creative atmosphere.
“This,” said Williams, “will help give teens the opportunity to break into the music business.”
The next stage in the Innovation Competition is the Feasibility Plan. Contestants have to submit a six-page paper proving the viability of their business. The awards, with a top cash prize of $1,000 will be presented Jan. 27, 2005.
Megan Davies may be reached at email@example.com.