Each spring, the Entrepreneurship Education Consortium (EEC) sponsors ideaLabs, a competition in which undergraduate students from across Northeast Ohio compete for prizes and recognition. The competition encourages students from across the disciplines to think innovatively about new venture ideas that have feasibility in the market.  

Chaired this year by Hiram College, the 2023 competition was hosted at Bounce Innovation Hub in Akron, Ohio, with David Strukel, Ph.D., director of the Burton D. Morgan Center for Integrated Entrepreneurship serving as the primary organizer of the event.  

Hiram’s Ashley Rutkowski ’24 moderated a panel about entrepreneurship coursework featuring Ethan Holmes, former Hiram College student, and Angelique Wong, an alumna of Kent State University. President David Haney, Ph.D., also spoke to those in attendance about the strength of the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Northeast Ohio, and how important entrepreneurship is in higher education. 

Teams from 16 member institutions participated. Competition winners included: 

First place: Digital Rythmic Utility Modules (D.R.U.M) presented by Mark Vaughn of Case Western Reserve University 

Description of idea submitted by presenter: Bedroom producers often can’t include realistic drums in their compositions. Digital Rhythmic Utility Modules (D.R.U.M.) is a new electronic instrument designed to make professional-quality percussion available to any musician who needs it.  

Second place: HyAndHook presented by Kaitlyn Phillips of Kent State University 

Description of idea submitted by presenter: HyAndHook is an e-commerce brand that sells crochet and crafting products inspired by pop culture moments and current fashion trends. Our goal is to provide crafters with patterns and products that are affordable, visually accessible, relatable, and customizable. We aim to expand our operations by producing new business-lifestyle planners for crafting entrepreneurs, which could be sold in big name craft stores. These planners will help entrepreneurs maximize the effectiveness and organization of their business operations by teaching them about different business concepts, including marketing, finance, product development, scaling, goal-setting, and more.  

Third place: Mavics Mobile Auto Detailing presented by Victor Ononogbo, Vincent Ononogbo, and Cam Klauke of John Carroll University.  

Description of idea submitted by presenter: We are a MOBILE car detailing company that comes to our clients desired location. We have our own water and electricity. All we need is our client’s car and keys! 

In addition to Hiram, EEC member institutions include Ashland University, Baldwin Wallace University, Case Western University, Cleveland State University, John Carroll University, Kent State University, Lorain County Community College, University of Akron, University of Mount Union.

By Jenelle (Bayus) Sanders