VTKW Global Entrepreneurship Challenge Semifinals Winners Announced

VT KnowledgeWorks hosted its seventh annual Global Entrepreneurship Challenge Semifinals at The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center on April 8.  The Challenge provided a unique opportunity for student teams from Virginia Tech to present their business concepts before a panel of local business leaders.

The Challenge began with welcoming remarks by Dr. Joe Meredith, president of the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center (VTCRC).  The VTCRC develops a growing, prestigious research park for high-technology companies.  In collaboration with Virginia Tech, the VTCRC advances the research, educational and technology transfer missions of the university.


Left to right: Jeremy Boone and Ben Newman

The grand prize of $15,000 in scholarships was awarded to Calbico, which included team members Ben Newman and Jeremy Boone.  Their prize package included the $10,000 Plastics One Advanced Manufacturing Award for the most outstanding tangible product.  In addition to that, they were awarded another $5,000 in scholarship assistance and summer workspace at the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center.  The Calbico Channel Cleaning Tool is designed for cleaning hard to reach areas in semi-automatic rifles and pistols.  Calbico will also advance to the VT KnowledgeWorks Global Student Entrepreneurship Challenge on August 20, 2015, where they will compete on a world stage as teams pitch their business ideas for a $25,000 grand prize.

Beyond Reality

Left to right: Jordan White and Ojas Mhetar

The $10,000 VT KnowledgeWorks Information Technology Award for the most outstanding intangible product or service went to Beyond Reality, represented by Ojas Mhetar and Jordan White.  Beyond Reality is a cloud based platform to host and deliver lag free, high quality virtual reality content via the Internet to the end user.


Left to right: Megan Lorey, Kevin Aviles, Joselyn Martinez, Ryan Klavan, Joaquin Bur, and Gabriella Jacobsen

Audience members selected their favorite student team to win the People’s Choice award of $5,000 in scholarships, generously sponsored by the Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business.  The winning team of the People’s Choice award was Flow, which included team members Kelvin Aviles, Joaquin Bur, Gabriella Jacobsen, Megan Lorey, Joselyn Martinez, and Ryan Klavan.  Flow, the modern sanitary product dispenser aimed at alleviating stress from needing emergency sanitary products.

Other teams that competed in the Global Entrepreneurship Challenge Semifinals included Advanc3D Materials, Formy Interfaces, Orb, Ryde, and XSprintCT.


Team RDA: Peter Athanas, Ali Sohanghpurwala, Ryan Marlow, and Krzysztof Kepa

The 2015 Tech Transfer Challenge winner was formally announced at the Global Entrepreneurship Challenge Semifinals networking reception and awards presentation.  The team of Ryan Marlow, Krzysztof Kepa, Ali Sohanghpurwala, and Peter Athanas was selected as the 2015 winner of the Tech Transfer Challenge.  They are developing the Rapid Design Assembly (RDA) technology to assist hardware engineers who target Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA) in electronic designs.  They are currently part of the Configurable Computing Laboratory at Virginia Tech, within the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department.  FPGAs are integrated circuits designed to be configured and reconfigured by the designer after manufacture; they are used extensively in networking, communications, automotive, and aerospace applications.  The current FPGA configuration process is both complicated and time consuming, and their tool, RDA, provides a solution to both of these issues.

RDA receives $100,000 worth of mentorship and business support services over a two-year period, including assistance in developing the overall business strategy as well as the presentations and plan documents needed for investor discussions and product launch.

The Tech Transfer Challenge provides an opportunity for Virginia Tech faculty, staff, students and/or alumni proposing to establish a new venture in Blacksburg, a chance to accelerate their innovative technology transfer from the university to the private sector.

“Congratulations to our winners.  They have exciting prospects, both personally and professionally.  But, just as important, the overall competition was outstanding.  According to our judges, and based on follow-up inquiries by local investors and entrepreneurs, we have possibly identified as many as half a dozen viable startups for our region.” – Jim Flowers, Executive Director, VT KnowledgeWorks

For more information contact Jim Flowers, Executive Director of VT KnowledgeWorks, at 540-443-9100, extension 1 or at [email protected]

VT KnowledgeWorks wants to thank our generous sponsors of the Global Entrepreneurship Challenge Semifinals including Plastics One Inc., Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, and Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business.

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VT KnowledgeWorks

VT KnowledgeWorks encourages and enables creative entrepreneurship world-wide, through innovative curriculum, local business resource centers, and a global network of cooperating regions, all focused on three essential contributors to success: clear understanding of fundamental business principles; access to timely, relevant information; and meaningful personal and corporate relationships. It is a subsidiary of the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, supported by the continuing confidence and enthusiasm of its clients, sponsors and friends, both corporate and individual. Its world headquarters are in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA.

VT KnowledgeWorks Sponsors

Automation Creations, Inc., BAE Systems, BB&T, The Branch Group, Inc., Brown, Edwards & Company, LLP, CIT GAP Funds, City of Roanoke, Fox 21/27, G.J. Hopkins, Inc., Interactive Achievement, Inc., Meridium, Montgomery County, Virginia Economic Development Department, National Bank, New River Valley Intellectual Property Law, Plastics One Inc., Rackspace, Shentel, SimulTV, SunTrust Bank , TechLab, Third Security, Town of Blacksburg, Town of Christiansburg, Union First Market Bank, UXB International, Inc., Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, Virginia Tech’s Outreach and International Affairs, VPT, Inc, Wordsprint

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