CWRU team members (back row, from left) James Lee, Aditya Rengaswamy and Brian Hayt and (front row, from left) Lisa Liang and Hayley Teng.

A team of five Case Western Reserve University students won second place in an entrepreneurial contest last week, when the Entrepreneurship Education Consortium held its sixth annual Entrepreneurship Immersion Week (EIW) at Case Western Reserve University. EIW is an intensive one-week, academic immersion experience for undergraduates from all disciplines to learn the basic skills needed to develop new business concepts. They also participate in a business concept competition. Teams of five students representing each of nine consortium member Northeast Ohio universities took part in the weeklong event, Aug. 5–10.

During the week, each team was charged with developing a product and/or service business concept in competition with the other teams to be presented to a panel of distinguished judges from Northeast Ohio’s entrepreneurial community.

The CWRU team—composed of Brian Hayt, James Lee, Lisa Liang, Aditya Rengaswamy and Hayley Teng—won second place. They received $1,500 for “Beyond Blocks,” a concept that enhances the Lego-type building blocks with electrical components, making it faster and easier to build electronic circuits.  Competition judges pointed out that the team’s prototype system, which was developed in the think[box] facility on campus, convinced them of the merits of the concept.

The first-place team from Kent State University won $2,500 for a concept to convert a paper-based surgical planning system into a more dynamic, responsive electronic form.

Colin Drummond, director of the Translational Research Partnership between Case Western Reserve and the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation and current president of EEC, said he enjoyed having Case Western Reserve University serve as host institution for the event. “Bringing together 45 students and 12 faculty from different universities provided a unique learning experience for the students,” he said. “More importantly, many students continue to work on their concepts over the course of the year and this fosters a spirit of entrepreneurship in our region.”

Member schools of the EEC are Ashland University, Baldwin-Wallace College, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland State University, Hiram College, John Carroll University, Kent State University, Lake Erie College, and the University of Akron.

The EEC has partnered with the Burton D. Morgan Foundation to make this program possible. Additional sponsors include Ernst & Young, the Coulter Translational Research partnership, CWRU’s think[box] and the CWRU Office of Research and Technology, led by Robert Miller.

More information can be found on the EEC website at www.immersionweek.org.