Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

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April 16, 2024 | Tom Ballard

U News 1 | Emory names its first Vice Provost for Entrepreneurship

Students at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point are collaborating with their local Convention & Visitors Bureau to help find funding solutions for local tourism efforts.

From Emory University:

The Atlanta-based institution has named its inaugural Vice Provost for Entrepreneurship. The individual filling the role is Wilbur Lam, Professor and W. Paul Bowers Research Chair in the Department of Pediatrics and the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Emory and the Georgia Institute of Technology.

The appointment, effective this month, was announced by Ravi V. Bellamkonda, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs. In his new, part-time role, Lam will foster a vibrant start-up culture among Emory students, working through The Hatchery and other units to expand programming and mentorship for students eager to translate their ideas into marketable products and services.

An experienced entrepreneur himself, Lam will also partner with leaders, schools and units across Emory to create better-defined, integrated pathways for faculty and student entrepreneurship. Additionally, he will expand the work of Emory Innovations Inc., a holding company of select portfolio companies and initiatives designed to assist faculty in moving rigorously vetted discoveries and inventions to a market-ready stage.

Click here to learn more about Lam and his new role.

From the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point:

A competition has students at the University collaborating with the Stevens Point Area Convention & Visitors Bureau to help find funding solutions for local tourism efforts. It is the inaugural “Case in Point Business Solutions Competition” with four teams, made up of 19 students, working on a specific challenge from the local bureau: “How might our organization increase revenue from our partnership program, thereby diversifying our income stream?”

How important is tourism to the local economy? According to this article, the sector contributed approximately $245.9 million to the local Stevens Point economy in 2022.

From the University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH):

UAH is leading a four-university coalition to advance cybersecurity education through a program known as “Virtual Internship and Varied Innovative Demonstrations” (VIVID). The three-year initiative is funded by a $3.2 million grant from the Department of Defense (DOD). UAH’s nationwide coalition includes Augusta University in Georgia, Florida International University, and The University of Arizona.

VIVID has three key objectives involving National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity (NCAE-C):

  • Provide an enhanced pipeline for diverse future cyber leaders through virtual paid internships to help students translate academic learning to cybersecurity practice and competency in a work role or job.
  • Increase hands-on exposure to cybersecurity techniques by developing and conducting live Red versus Blue hackathon events developed by the VIVID coalition.
  • Host the fall 2024 annual colloquium which will enhance the visibility and stature of leaders within the DOD cyber community by recognizing and communicating their programs’ successes and upcoming goals.

“The VIVID program hires interns from Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity Education and Research to work side by side with experts from Redstone Arsenal, the associate’s Defense Industrial Base,” said Dr. Tommy Morris, Director of the UAH Center for Cybersecurity Research and Education. “In doing so, this program provides a new vector for workforce development for North Alabama. The VIVID program also provides enhanced visibility for UAH and our three partners.”

From the University of Kentucky (UK):

The University hosted the second annual Kentucky Innovator Challenge (KIC) last Thursday. Hosted by UK Innovate, the one-day summit brought together leaders from business, service organizations, and higher education to identify the most pressing challenges facing Kentucky that are best solved through collaborative research and innovation economic development. KIC 2024 offered three unique tracks attendees could participate in throughout the day: Materials Enabling the Future of Kentucky, Innovations Advancing a Healthier Kentucky, and Creating a Circular Economy in Kentucky.

UK Innovate is the innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic enterprise for University of Kentucky Research. Through technology commercialization, corporate partnerships, social innovation, innovation training, and economic development initiatives related to UK’s research innovations, talent, and community, UK Innovate works to move ideas into the world faster, where they can make the greatest social and economic impact possible.

From the University of Arkansas:

Students at the University are in the middle of the bi-annual sales competition hosted by the Sam M. Walton College of Business. The event began April 16 and ends April 18. Over the three-day period, students pitch product placement to real buyers from corporations such as Walmart, HART and PepsiCo. Beginner sales class students participate in teams, while those in the advanced sales class are solo participants.

The event isn’t just for show — multiple job offers have been extended throughout the event, with two students accepting last year.

From Louisiana State University (LSU):

Three LSU student businesses have been selected to present in a live pitch competition for a share of $35,000 during the 13th annual J Terrell Brown Venture Challenge to be held April 18 at the LSU Business Education Complex. More than 50 student teams submitted business plans for the first round; 13 applicants were moved forward to the semi-final round. All projects were judged and scored by a panel of faculty members and others in the entrepreneurial network.

The three finalists are:

  • Eternal Exchange which redefines the burial plot market with a direct, streamlined platform, ensuring clients have a simplified and dignified transaction experience.
  • FarmSmart is an artificial intelligence-powered platform connecting modern professional farming and recreational gardening communities alike to specifically tailored, high-quality information on how to best manage their crops.
  • Flickleball is an immersive tabletop football game with an elevated and tilted realistic football field using cups and foam footballs to create realistic football scenarios.


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