This post is about the Eureka! Ventures Competition put on by the Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship, Creativity, and Innovation. They look for Lehigh students pursuing innovative thinking and sustainable business models for their ideas or inventions.
My research partner Erin and I applied to the Eureka! competition for our product, Air Releaf, that I have mentioned in previous blog posts. Air Releaf is a plant-based indoor air purifier; we have been working on the prototype at Mountaintop for the past semester. To apply, we had to create a business plan, make a pitch in front of judges, and answer a bunch of questions about how we plan to market the product and make it sellable. This all came out of left field for me, considering I have absolutely no experience in anything business related.
Looking back on our pitch and Q&A with the Eureka! judges, it seems obvious, but at the time, I was so confused as to why the judges were asking us questions about who our market is going to be and what stores we plan to sell in. I was expecting the majority to be technical questions, like how does the plant filter out contaminants or which contaminants are filtered, etc. This is the moment I realized that during my 3.5 years at Lehigh, I have been trained to explain scientific processes and answers so well that I totally misjudged what our actual presentation was going to be focused on. So, this experience was priceless for me because it made me realize that not everybody wants to know the technical details; some may be a bit more focused on the business methods, like in the case of the Eureka! competition.
I’m excited to say that we came in 2nd place for our competition category, and can apply our winnings to build and test a new Air Releaf prototype next semester!
From when I was a freshman at Lehigh to now, I’ve definitely seen a growth in the entrepreneurial spirit at the university. There are countless opportunities for motivated students to bring their projects to fruition, whether they be focused in business, the arts & sciences, or engineering. Through Mountaintop, the Baker institute, and Lehigh’s entrepreneurship programs, so many resources exist to accomplish your creative ideas!