Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

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March 27, 2024 | Tom Ballard

U News 1 | University of Arkansas announces participants in its annual “Heartland Challenge”

Florida State becomes 14th member of Student-Made, a custom online marketplace where student entrepreneurs can sell and promote products and services at scale.

From the University of Arkansas:

Twelve teams, including three from the host university, have been named semi-finalists in the annual “Heartland Challenge” hosted by the University’s Sam M. Walton College of Business.

Scheduled for April 11-13 in Bentonville, AR, the event will involve teams competing for a prize pool of more than $100,000, ‍The competition is for student-created, managed, and owned ventures. Students must play a major role in conceiving the venture by having key management roles and owning significant equity in the venture (50 percent or more of the equity allocated to the management team and key advisers).

In addition to the three University of Arkansas teams, other participants come from Johns Hopkins University (two teams); Iowa State; Tufts; Washington University in St. Louis; and the Universities of Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, and Rochester.

To learn more about the 12 teams, click on this link.

From Florida State University:

Florida State University’s (FSU) Jim Moran College of Entrepreneurship recently launched a partnership with Student-Made, a custom online marketplace where FSU student entrepreneurs can sell and promote products and services at scale.   

Founded in 2019, Student-Made is a program made by students and run by students. The platform connects students, alumni, and the local community while giving students real-life experiences and a chance to share passions, products, and services with others. FSU is one of 13 campuses across the country that participates in the marketplace.

Among the others are three in the Tar Heel State: Appalachian State, North Carolina State, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The University of South Carolina is also a member. 

“Student-Made establishes a community of inventors and innovators, offers exposure to creator products, and provides growth in skill sets needed later to thrive as an entrepreneur,” said Kirsten Harrison, Assistant Dean of Academic and Student Services. “Student-Made is a safe space for starting a business with low risk but maximum support.” 

The FSU program has 16 student entrepreneurs and seven student managers who operate the Student-Made platform. Management staff positions are open to any FSU student who does not have a business or product, while the student creators are FSU student entrepreneurs who can sign up alone or with a group.

All sellers have access to the Jim Moran College InNOLEvation® Center for Student Engagement which helps Florida State University students launch their own ventures, regardless of college or major. The center provides all FSU students with entrepreneurial opportunities to develop and showcase business ventures.

From Cornell University:

Student teams from eLab, Cornell’s student start-up accelerator, and the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute Runway Start-ups program will pitch their ideas March 28 at San Francisco’s Autodesk Gallery.

The event will bring together Cornell Silicon Valley, eLab, Runway Start-ups, Entrepreneurship at Cornell, and the Student Agencies Foundation to spotlight innovation throughout the Cornell community. Cornell Silicon Valley, an alumni networking group based on the West Coast, has a focus on information-age businesses and provides educational and networking opportunities in the Bay Area.

Following the pitches, the student entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to network with the attendees, including other start-up executives and investors. The teams will also have time in California to meet with Cornell alumni who have successfully launched their own companies.

From Purdue University:

A team at the Purdue Applied Research Institute (PARI), the university’s research and development center, is using state-of-the-art additive-manufacturing equipment to print a full-scale, fully operational prototype of a supersonic combustion ramjet, or scramjet, an engine that allows aircraft to travel at speeds of Mach 5 and beyond. Researchers in PARI’s Hypersonic Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center (HAMTC) believe this innovative scramjet design paves the way for more affordable and expedient prototyping and manufacturing processes across the hypersonics industry.

“There’s no other university-affiliated institution with the capability to manufacture and then test hypersonic technologies at flight-relevant scales and conditions,” said Will DeVerter, a Graduate Research Assistant who created the full-scale scramjet prototype with Senior Test Engineer Nick Strahan. “Once we have a part or system ready to go, I can walk it across the street and test it using some of the best propulsion and diagnostic technology in the world. That’s a unique capability that streamlines the entire manufacturing and testing process.”

Strahan likened scramjet functionality to trying to light a candle in a hurricane. “You have to sustain a flame in air speeds in excess of Mach 2, so the technological challenge is creating a combustor that can operate efficiently and burn fuel with air traveling at really high velocities,” he said.

To learn more, click here.

From the University of Oklahoma:

Startup OU, a program of the Tom Love Innovation Hub at the University of Oklahoma’s (OU) Price College of Business, has received a $1.9 million grant to expand its entrepreneurial programs from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration.

The funding comes through the federal agency’s Build to Scale Venture Challenge and will allow OU to scale its pre-accelerator, accelerator, incubator, and related initiatives in central and south central Oklahoma. The program will offer full support and resources to help founders launch ideas into viable small businesses.

Additionally, Startup OU will launch several new initiatives to commercialize university innovation and workforce development. Staff will also support international founders interested in launching their business in Oklahoma and build a national mentor network involving the University of Oklahoma’s alumni network.


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