Archive for October 15th, 2009

Entrepreneurial Concept Contest

School of Engineering and Applied Science

Entrepreneurial Concept Contest

Do you have a new idea for a product?  A vision of a fantastic new business?  A desire to become an entrepreneur?  If so, then you should enter the SEAS Entrepreneurial Concept Contest

How does the contest work?    This year’s contest requires student teams to submit brief proposals (details below).  Five or six finalists will be invited to present their ideas to a panel of SEAS judges.  Winners from that “live-fire” competition will share $5000 in prize money, and the top winner will represent SEAS in the UVa Cup Competition.  The UVa Cup is a new award in which all of the schools in the University will compete for $10,000 in prizes and the recognition of being the best entrepreneurial team at UVa. 

What can I win?   Thanks to a generous gift from Doug (SE ’87) and Lois (CS ’83, ’87) Garland, winners in the SEAS contest will be awarded: 

* First Prize:                 $3,000 and must compete for the UVa Cup 20 November

* Second Prize:             $1,500

* Third Prize:                $   500 

Who can compete?   You and your teammates must be current UVa students (undergraduate, graduate, or post-doctoral), faculty, or staff.  Alumni may participate by partnering with any of the above. 

What do I need to submit?   The SEAS Contest requires a two-page proposal written as an executive summary.  It can be supported by two additional pages of exhibits (usually illustrations or data) and resumes of team members.  You should include a title page with the name of your product or proposed business as well as the names and email addresses for everyone on your team.  One person should be designated as the contact person on the title page.  Your proposal and supporting material should be in 10- or 12-point font with one-inch margins.  Electronic versions should be .pdf or .doc files, not .docx, please. 

What should my proposal cover?   It should describe your product or business idea, the market, the competition, and competitive advantages. Specific market and financial forecasts are not required, although you should have a basic idea of the level of financing you would need to start the venture. Proposals will be evaluated on their viability in the current marketplace and social environment.  

What are the deadlines for the Contest? 

29 October      Proposals due by 5 PM

5 November    SEAS Finalists announced

12 November  SEAS Finalists present concepts in “live-fire” competition

20 November  SEAS winner competes for the UVa Cup.

Where do I submit my proposal?   Please email it to Professor W. Bernard Carlson at  Remember your submission should be in .pdf or .doc format. 

What if I have questions?   Drop an email to Mr. Carlson at the above address.  For more information on the UVa cup:

Checklist of topics to cover in your proposal: 

Concept Summary

    * Write a short paragraph describing your concept.

    * Start with a one-sentence description of the underlying idea.

    * Determine the customer/market.

    * Decide how the business will generate revenue or the non-profit will be sustainable.

    * State what makes the concept unique. 

Value Proposition

    * Determine the “pain” or problem that the concept addresses.

    * Explain the solution the concept provides.

    * Discuss why these product/service benefits are real and valuable to customers. 

Market Opportunity

    * Calculate the total revenues for the target market, where applicable. (This can be expressed in terms of total revenues or total expenditures by customers, or in terms of total customers multiplied by the average amount spent per customer annually.)

    * Discuss your current or anticipated competition. 

Product/Service Description

    * Describe the attributes of any product or service.

    * Explain how the product will be produced or how the service will be performed.

    * Determine how much or what types of resources would be generally required. 

Management Team

    * Who are members of the team?

    * What are their backgrounds?

    * What are their intended roles within this proposal? 

Disclaimer:          The SEAS Entrepreneurial Concept Contest will be open-session. Information deemed highly proprietary or sensitive should not be included or disclosed in either submissions or presentations. Concept documents will not be published or distributed except as described above. Participation in, submissions, and information disclosures for the competition are wholly voluntary. Participants should note that they alone control the content of their disclosures. SEAS and the University of Virginia assume no responsibility whatsoever for accidental or third-party breaches of confidentiality.

Family Weekend Events

This weekend October 16-18, 2009 is Family Weekend at the University of Virginia.  There are dozens of free lectures and events you can attend, many of them science or engineering related.  For a complete listing vist the online schedule.

Library sponsored events of interest include:

  • Village to Grounds: Architecture after Jefferson at the University of Virginia
  • Finding Your Kin, Part I: Basics for Beginning Genealogists
  • Organizing Your Digital Photos
  • U.Va. Chapel Carillon Revealed
  • Finding Your Kin, Part II: Advanced Resources in Genealogy
  • Declaring Independence: Creating and Re-creating America’s Document
  • Flowerdew Hundred: Unearthing Virginia’s History
  • Mapping Yourself (GIS and other Mapping Techniques)
  • iS the iPhone for U?
  • Special Collections Show and Tell
  • Snakes on a Higher Plane: The Evolution and Behavior of Misunderstood Serpents
  • Librarian at Sea (the Semester at Sea Program)
  • Demystifying Facebook and Twitter
  • Preserving U.Va. Library Treasures or Your Own
  • Google U (discussion of Google features and apps)

Details, locations and times for the above events can be found at the link listed at the beginning of this post.

Just in Time for Halloween…

ChemBot Unveiled

CNET News (10/15, Katz) reports on the “shape-shifting ChemBot” that “looks like the love child of a beating heart and a wad of Silly Putty.”  It is the product of a contract awarded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the U.S. Army Research Office to iRobot.  The maker “along with University of Chicago researchers, showed off the oozy results at the Iros conference (the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems) in St. Louis this week.  DARPA envisions the palm-size ChemBot as a mobile robot that can traverse soft terrain and navigate through small openings, such as tiny wall cracks, during reconnaissance and search-and-rescue missions.”  The robot “inflates and deflates parts of its body, changing size and shape — and scaring the living daylights out of us.  We don’t know exactly when ChemBot will join the Armed Forces, but we can only beg:  please, oh please, keep it away from us.”

Reposted from the October 15, 2009 ASEE First Bell briefing.

Elluminate Information Session

Elluminate — Using the Online Conferencing Tool

 Please join us for a demonstration/information session on Elluminate.

Elluminate is a web conferencing, online meeting manager, with sophisticated audio, video, and screensharing support.   This software solution has been adopted by the University of Virginia School of Engineering, School of Nursing, and School of Continuing and Professional Studies (SCPS).  Elizabeth Margutti, Fred O’Bryant, and Gail Hunger are hosting a library training session on this tool in the Digital Media Lab (DML) in Clemons Library.

Gail Hunger, the Director of Instructional Design and Technology (IDT) for the School of Continuing and Professional Studies, will be presenting.  Since the 1990s, she has been actively involved in developing and designing online courses.  Most recently, her focus has been on synchronous learning tools that engage participants in online sessions.

 Where: Digital Media Lab (Clemons Library)

Date: October 21, 2009

Time: 1 PM – 2 PM

Who: Anyone interested in how to host an online meeting or webconference.

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October 2009