Three UNT students win Murphy Center for Entrepreneurship’s IDEA Contest

Monday, April 12, 2010

DENTON (UNT), Texas -- A motorcyclist loses control and skids off the road out of the view of other motorists; what happens next? In many cases the motorcyclist could lay injured for hours before being discovered, but University of North Texas student Ryan Thompson has an idea for a product that would alert first responders of motorcycle accidents immediately.

Thompson is one of the three entrepreneurial UNT students that were recognized for their innovative ideas during the Spring 2010 IDEA Contest at UNT. The contest is sponsored by UNT's Murphy Center for Entrepreneurship in collaboration with the College of Engineering and Office of Technology Transfer, and is open to all UNT students. Participants are asked to submit an innovative idea in 250 words or less. Twelve finalists get the opportunity to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges made up of UNT faculty, staff and members of the local business community.

According to the center's director, Dr. Tony Mendes, the contest is intended to inspire students in all disciplines to think outside of the box. Each winner received a $250 prize and time with the judges to work on developing his or her idea. The center plans to continue hosting the contest each long semester. This year's winners were Thompson, Monica Salazar-Miranda and Varud Gupta.

Thompson is a senior Business Entrepreneurship major from Frisco. His idea is called RideOn. It is an automatic crash notification system for motorcycles that is designed to get motorcyclists help faster by combining several technologies. Thompson said that his device could help reduce the number of motorcycle crash fatalities experienced each year.

Salazar-Miranda is a senior electrical engineering major from Frisco. Her idea is a company named Pink Geek. Pink Geek would be a woman-friendly organization that would offer computer and technical consulting to homes and local small businesses. Salazar-Miranda said that women are sometimes afraid to allow male technicians in their homes. Pink Geek will alleviate those fears by employing a staff of female technology specialists, who would provide affordable technology services.

Gupta is a senior at the Texas Academy of Math and Sciences from Plano. His idea is a company named A Penny for your Thoughts. The company would be an online platform that would give companies the opportunity to receive feedback on their products and ideas. The individuals providing feedback would be able to earn virtual pennies for their responses, which could later be exchanged for prizes or cash.

The judges for this semester's contest were Vijay Vaidyanathan, associate dean of UNT's College of Engineering; Kuruvilla John, associate dean in the College of Engineering; Mike Zampino, owner of El Guapo's; and, Marcus Ruark, entrepreneur and venture capital investor.

"The IDEA Contest was extremely beneficial to me. I got experience pitching an idea in front of people, and I got the opportunity to have one-on-one time with experts in business," said Thompson.

For more information on the Spring 2010 Idea Contest and its contestants, contact Debbi Stack at 940-565-2848 or Debbi.Stack@unt.edu.

UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108

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