Innovation Showcase Yields Big Ideas from N.C. A&T Students


With more than just cash prizes on the line, four North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University students took home top prizes recently during Innovate 91: Collegiate Student Innovation Showcase.

The university’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) co-sponsored the inaugural event, which allowed more than 90 undergraduate students and/or teams to present their innovative ideas, solutions, products and services to a team of technology professional judges.

The winners’ ideas ran the gamut from healthcare advancements to gun safety. Moreover, the creativity and innovation exhibited by the students effectively cemented the need for a collective platform for student entrepreneurs and innovators to present their ideas, concepts and products.

The winners were as follows:

  • First Place ($500):  Jamila Sylvester (Bioengineering)

Business idea: Air Tech – a two-cartridge inhaler for asthma patients.

  • Second Place ($300): Angelica Willis, Dunamis Bacchus (Computer Science) and Bria Bridges (International Business)

Business idea: Project Forage – a mobile application that leverages computer vision, an artificial intelligence using a smartphone camera to analyze food items in user’s refrigerator and food pantry and generates a healthy recipe based on available ingredients.

  • Third Place and Audience Choice ($200 each): Allen McLean, (Technology Management, graduate)

Business idea: Smart Gun – technology that will allow a gun to relay a signal describing when it was fired, in what direction and where.

The showcase was also sponsored by Brown Box Works, a local tech multimedia digital startup  whose founders are N.C. A&T alumni and current students, the College of Business and Economics, College of Engineering, University Innovation Fellows and the Student Government Association.

Brown Box Works founders and others participated in a panel discussion and Q&A titled “Being a Successful Student Entrepreneur.”

CEI is the hub for entrepreneurship education on campus. Its purpose is to ignite students’ entrepreneurial passion and equip them with the necessary tools to be successful innovators and entrepreneurs in whatever path they may choose. The center is a university-wide resource for the entrepreneurial endeavors of students, faculty, staff and alumni.