Innovation and creativity blossom in Business Hall during the 2023 New Venture Expo and stART up Gallery

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Student startups congregate and table in the hub of the Business Hall during the New Venture Expo. - News Intern / Madison Miller

Students across all majors brought their ideas and entrepreneurial skills to this year’s 2023 New Venture Expo and stART up Gallery on Friday, April 21 in the Business Hall. This took place just before the Rohrer New Venture Competition. The expo is an opportunity for any student with an idea to participate and network, it doesn’t necessarily need to be a business that is pitching a product yet. 50 teams were able to participate, whereas the competition is limited to five finalists who have to compete for their spot in front of the judges.

Upstairs on the second floor, photography students across campus were also able to put their work on display and participate in a print sale, with the stARTup Gallery. Both the expo participants and the gallery artists were judged for prize money and were voted on by event attendees.

Tyler Allen Williams won first place and $100 for his photography in the stARTup Gallery and Art for Hope Studio founded by Ashley Kulikowski, took home first place and $4,000 for the expo, in addition to her honorable mention in the New Venture competition. 4U Medical Designs also took home the People’s Choice Award with a $75 prize. In the Most Promising New Venture Category, with each award-winning $50, Bobica Bars won the CPG award, Print Fit won the Technology award, THC Go won the award for Cannabis Commercialization, EvoEats won the Service Award and the Social Award went to Circlez.

New Venture Competition finalists, 4U Medical Designs, Bobica Bars, PULLATracker, Lushious Beauty and Art for Hope Studio all had tables at the expo, alongside startups from Entrepreneurship and Innovation classes and other student startups from all across Rowan’s campus. Some other student tables included a pill storage container you can attach to your phone that makes taking medication on time easier, Med Dial and a water purifier you can attach to your gutter, Gudderflo. Participating students were from a diverse pool of majors as well, it was not limited just to Rohrer College of Business students. 

Ansh Patel is a sophomore biomedical engineering major and was one of Med Dial’s founders. The device attaches to the user’s phone case, similar to a PopSocket, that rotates and can store prescription pills to help patients remember to take their medicine. The idea began in his Entrepreneurship and Innovation class and involved other biomedical engineering majors, Brendan Connor and Roger Fricke. 

“In classrooms, traditional learning, this is something you don’t normally do. You spend the whole semester making this business, making a business model, a business plan, how you’re going to market it, a product and it’s just a lot less conceptual, and a lot more putting things into practice. For the first time, I’ve really been able to put my skills into practice,” said Patel.  

Another student business focused on sustainability and clean water. Gudderflo is a device that attaches to a gutter of a building or home and purifies the water that comes through to be reused. It is modeled to send the water right through to a home’s basement where it can be recycled. The company is in its early stages and ideas but is working to ensure that the device can accomplish and purify all of the water that comes through. 

“We’re working on a final rendering but if this does take off hopefully within the next two to three years we’ll have something [to sell],” said Nicholas Cox, a senior music industry major. 

The expo was full of ideas, questions and innovation allowing students the opportunity to put their hard work and knowledge to use, but also to learn from their peers and find inspiration from their ideas. 

“I think that being in an entrepreneurial ecosystem, especially at Rowan, having those people around you pushes you to be better and pushes you to work harder. And also, kind of makes you want to generate your own ideas and start your own business,” said Jess Vatima, the assistant director of the Rowan Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

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