Packing Power

(Photo by Duane Zehr)

April 30, 2014

Electronics users occasionally find themselves with dead batteries on their laptops smart phones or tablets at the most inconvenient moments. To address those frustrating moments far from an outlet, senior Shiv Patel designed a backpack with a charger capable of refueling most portable electronics.

Patel’s creation, Chargd, won Bradley’s eighth Project Springboard. The innovation stemmed from one of the many creative questions that push Patel’s innovative mind. Patel also was runner-up at the 2013 Project Springboard with PrintVersity, a student-run print and design business for clothing or promotional products.

“There are a lot of classes you can’t find an outlet,” he said. “What if there was a different way to charge things?”

As a collaborative effort between the Foster College of Business and Turner School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the competition provides students with real-life experience in developing and executing business plans. It encourages students to work together across disciplines to become budding entrepreneurs in the formation, start up and early growth stages of promising businesses.

Springboard fosters creativity by creating a safe environment for students to explore ideas, meet with faculty mentors and collaborate with classmates. The competition rewards the top ideas with resources to start the proposed ventures.

“They’re able to have their dreams and put pieces of the dream together with advice and instruction from professors to launch a business,” said Springboard Director Amy Fairfield Doering. “They learn and acquire skills in class and now they’re ready to start these businesses.”

Four teams vied for a prize package valued at $100,000. Senior Tom Hornstein came in second with Nooz, a crowdsourced news application for smartphones. Senior Ryan Miller finished third with PlayGround Games, a large-scale traveling production of popular schoolyard games. Junior Harsh Shah and senior Katie Jousma’s MuzMee concert crowdsourcing website was the fourth finalist. MuzMee won Springboard’s New Venture Poster Competition and Startup Weekend earlier this schoolyear.

The winner’s prize package includes $10,000 cash, office space from Foster College of Business, consulting from the Turner Center for Entrepreneurship, Junction Ventures and Illinois Angels, marketing assistance from Converse Marketing, technology assistance from Clifton Larson Allen and legal advice from Miller, Hall and Triggs.

The competition, open to Bradley students in all majors, was established in spring 2007 as the result of a gift from Alexis Khazzam of Junction Ventures to Foster College of Business.