UTSA undergrads compete for $100K in prizes at technology competition

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(Nov. 19, 2009)--UTSA business and engineering students are competing today for $100,000 in business-related services and prizes at San Antonio's largest business planning competition, the UTSA 100K Student Technology Venture Competition. Hosted by the UTSA Center for Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship (CITE), the biannual event promotes entrepreneurship by pairing engineering students who create viable new technologies with business students who create business plans to market the technologies through a viable start-up.

Six teams of UTSA business and engineering students are competing in this year's event. Their companies represent a variety of new technologies with applications in transportation, health, fire safety and mining. The teams will be judged by local academic, business and entrepreneurial experts on their business plans, new technology and presentations. At the close of the daylong competition, some of the winning teams will have the opportunity to sell their companies.

"To our knowledge, this is the largest new business competition in San Antonio," said Cory Hallam, CITE director. "Since our first competition two years ago, the business community has really stepped up to help our students launch their companies. With the help of our sponsors, we're now offering students $100,000 in services and prizes including consulting services, marketing services, office space and other benefits."

The competition is sponsored by the Texas Research Technology Foundation, Cox|Smith, Harvard Business School Club of San Antonio and San Antonio Technology Center. UTSA established the competition when faculty observed that UTSA engineering students were developing new technologies and business students were writing business plans, but neither group of students was doing anything with their efforts beyond turning in projects for a grade. With the competition in place, UTSA students now are developing marketable technologies and forming viable new companies based on those technologies, all before they graduate.

"The tech start-up competition is a great experience for our students," said Hallam. "The format gives them a chance to experience what it's like to be an entrepreneur -- before they graduate and before they have mortgages or bills to worry about."

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About the competitors

  • AidPro offers a proprietary skin lesion measurement technology that rapidly quantifies skin injury data and converts the data into electronic medical records. The student team includes Irene Bernal, Angela Collins, Jeremy Joiner, Mitchell Martin and Travis Wilcox.
  • Aqua Sol Inc. offers a solar-thermal water purification device designed to eliminate all contaminants found in dubious water sources. The AquaSol purifier uses solar energy to distill water of questionable quality for drinking and cooking. The student team includes Gabriel Guerrero, Tony Dominguez, Wesley Dunn, Trang Thanh Nguyen, Brandon Ojeda, Claudia Romero, Shane Spencer, Stephen Steger and Frederick Ward.
  • Auto Cam 360 offers video technology to capture accidents involving automobiles while drivers are away from their vehicles. The student team includes Remus Avram, Eddie de la Cruz, Eric Contreras, Christina Mondragon, Kristen Mora, Nguyen Nguyen, Erin Reger, Jonathan Rico and Charles Villarreal.
  • FSD1 offers a product that can be easily activated and tossed into a fire from a safe distance. When activated, the product releases a chemical agent that breaks up the first tetrahedron by eliminating the fire's oxygen, fuel or heat. The student team includes Deborah Bailey, Luis Balderas, Aaron Cano, Angela Chiaro, Courtney Cummings, Ryan May, Samuel Noyola, Luis Sanchez and James Walker.
  • Phoenix Gaze offers motorcycle safety systems design to decrease the number of traffic accidents cause by motorcycle blind spots. The product incorporates a wireless live video feed and ultrasonic sensors. The student team includes Rick Cuellar, Solomon Garcia, Stephanie Garza, Sal Haro, Stephen Ledesma, Robert Maxwell, Theresa McFaul and Matthew Williams.
  • Vor-Techs offers customized connections for the drilling, mining and coring industries to protect their million-dollar investments in equipment with new connector technology. The student team includes Monica Burns, Kayla Gutierrez, Monica Meneses and Rachel Tiemann.