Five student startups were named finalists in Purdue University’s 34th annual Burton D. Morgan Business Model Competition. The teams, which span biodegradable drinking straws, in-flight pilot training, and digital platforms for parking and electric vehicle charging, will split nearly $100,000 to support their businesses.
The competition, which promotes student entrepreneurship, began in September and ended in April. Purdue says the virtual competition had participation from over 120 students and 70 teams from across the university.
The first-place prize of $40,000 went to AeonCharge by Laegacy Inc., an aggregation platform that uses its technology to provide for the upgrade and streamlined management of electric vehicle chargers.
“The Burton D. Morgan Business Model Competition is an opportunity to bring together students and mentors from across Purdue’s entrepreneurial ecosystem to support and learn from each other while showcasing their innovative ideas,” said Arnold Chen, managing director of the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship. “We are grateful to all of the entrepreneurs and VCs who contributed their time and expertise as judges and mentors, and to Krannert School of Management for their continued support and sponsorship of the business model competition.”
Additional awards went to:
- Second place, $25,000: Aura Training Systems, a dynamic in-flight task training tool using computer vision and machine learning to collect valuable data for use by pilots of rotary or fixed-wing aircraft.
- Third place, $15,000: Hippo Straw LLC, for engineering a sustainable, low-cost biodegradable plastic straw using water hyacinth, a fast-growing invasive species.
- Fourth place, $7,500: ParkOut, a digital marketplace for event parking or tailgating.
- Fifth place, $5,000: MockIVIEW, a one-stop job preparation portal that facilitates mock interviews with real-time feedback.
FreedomWare Inc. received the Schurz Innovation Award of $12,000 for its design for affordable sealable spoons for people with tremors, Parkinson’s disease or other movement disorders. EdVizion, a service increasing student exposure to STEAM careers, received the Social Innovation Award of $1,000 and the Schurz Best Female-Founded Team of $8,000.
“Schurz Communications has been involved in the Burton D. Morgan Business Model Competition for five years now, and we get to see a great array of talent across the teams each year. I’d like to congratulate all of the teams that participated this year,” said Chris Dautel, director of strategic planning and corporate development at Schurz.
In addition to cash prizes, Purdue says competition sponsors provided over $30,000 in in-kind prizes.