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A total of 16 students participated in the 2019-20 UW-Parkside Big Idea Innovation Challenge, an annual competition designed to provide funding opportunities for UW-Parkside students to develop innovative ideas and start-up initiatives. After an extensive review by the selection committee, the first place winner is Mariana Nelson and the second place winners are Thomas Stirrat, Venu Rajyaguru, and Holden Whitledge.

Nelson will receive a $2500 in funding to help advance her business Capp, LLC. Capp is an app designed to review companies based on the level of accessibility that they provide to people with disabilities. The app is intended to create a community where people with disabilities can review companies, events, and locations based on accessibility and other factors. Stirrat, Rajyaguru, and Whitledge will receive $1500 to develop their venture, Primeval Games. Primeval Games is a science-focused board game and children’s book publishing company, designed to engage children and introduce them to the realm of science in an entertaining way.

“Everyone on the committee was really pleased with the creativity exhibited in all 16 entries and we’re looking forward to their future success,” said College of Business, Economics, and Computing Dean Dr. Dirk Baldwin. “The Big Idea Innovation Challenge provides the resources to help students realize their ideas. We’re always amazed by the level of ingenuity from our students. They present a variety of unique, innovative ideas.”

The Big Idea competition helps bring concepts to fruition, like Cassie Van Hoof’s ‘Purrfect Pal’ and Jeremy Preischel’s ‘Automated Vertical Farming.’ A team of UW-Parkside faculty/staff, alumni, and community supporters review applications and make investment decisions based on the perceived commercial and/or social impact.

For more information about the UW-Parkside Big Idea Innovation Challenge, and to see a list of past winners, visit the website. For more information, contact Dr. Dirk Baldwin, Dean of the College of Business, Economic, and Computing at UW-Parkside, at 262-595-2379 or via e-mail at baldwin@uwp.edu.