Center for Entrepreneurship showcases UWF innovators

By Steve Likovetz
Staff writer

The University of West Florida Center for Entrepreneurship hosted the first Da Vinci Innovation Celebration in the University Commons on Thursday to highlight ideas and inventions created by current UWF students.

Bob Perkins, a professor at UWF’s College of Business, wanted to create an event that would highlight the innovation of the UWF student body.

The reason behind Perkins calling the event the Da Vinci Innovation Celebration was that Da Vinci excelled as an artist, an engineer, a medical researcher; and all kinds of other things.

“The idea was to create something that would appeal across the campus,” Perkins said.

It did just that with more than 40 teams consisting of approximately 80 students, representing 27 different majors participated, all hoping to take away a cash prize of $500 for first place in their category.

“It was to create a buzz on campus among students for entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial thinking, innovation and trying to match students up with professionals in the field,” Edward Ranelli, the director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, said when asked about the purpose of the event.

The six categories included clever concept, artistic appeal, targeted market, commercial potential, viral contender, and the people’s choice award, which would be awarded from votes made on the College of Business facebook page.

Hugo Reyes, a UWF professor of global hospitality and tourism, judged parts of the competition.

“It’s now time to sit down with the team and working through how to improve the concept and coming up with a business plan because this event was at a superficial level,” Reyes said.

After two hours of judging, the first prize winners were announced.

Walk About took the prize for most clever concept. The award for best artistic appeal went to Escortly followed by Dash Performance taking home the prize for targeted market. Mobile Base Computer App won first place for commercial potential with Date Nite winning for viral contender.

The awards concluded with College Crew winning the coveted people’s choice award with more than 100 votes.

The Center for Entrepreneurship’s next event will be on Oct. 11, continuing their speaker series with Jane Birdwell’s “Proceed or Pivot,” at 4:30 p.m. in the John C. Pace Library.

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Commercial Potential winner Don Kerrigan with Mobile Based Computer App. (Photo by Steve Likovetz)