The Burton D. Morgan Center for Integrated Entrepreneurship at Hiram College annually hosts a series of idea competitions that give students the opportunity to pitch their best ideas. Each fall, the College hosts ideablitz!, an idea generation and development event in which contestants develop an enterprise idea through the creation of a written concept statement. During the spring semester, students examine the feasibility of their concept through the ideabuild! competition.   

This year, seven innovative concepts were pitched by students from across the College to a panel of outside judges consisting of entrepreneurs and business owners. Each student or group had five minutes to present, followed by two minutes of Q&A. Ideas were judged based on the concept of a product or service, value proposition, industry and market, costs and revenues, and quality of presentation.   

“The Ideabuild! competition is so important for students as it takes them through the idea development process. They brainstorm an idea and think of either something new or an improvement on an existing device or service. Students research their ideas to see what market there is for it, what it would cost to make their product, how to promote it and where to sell it. And then lastly, they pitch their ideas to our panel of judges, who are entrepreneurs,”said Dr. Dave Strukel, director of the Burton D. Morgan Center for Integrated Entrepreneurship and professor in the Scarborough School of Business and Communication. “The judges do not just listen for the idea’s viability but also critique the students on their presentation skills. No matter what these students do after Hiram College, they will likely have to give an important presentation. I’m happy students get to experience this as undergraduates.” 

The 2024 ideabuild! winners were: 

First place, $1,000 prize: the team of Joshua Kester, Zachary Kroetsch, Hal Walker, and Hunter Greco, for their idea – the Smart Trash Can. The Smart Trash Can makes it easier to recycle products and limit waste by automatically sorting and compacting garbage and recycling products for users. The can would use an infrared sensor to determine how to sort trash from the recyclable items.  This team also took home the Sustainability Award for their idea concept. 

ideabuild first place winners pose with their award and Dr. Dave Kukurza

Second place, $600 prize: the team of Ethan Mayer, Tyler Wolke, and Aaron Gardner, for their idea – Bee Boxes. Bee Boxes are recycled cardboard boxes coated in a protective wax layer. This sustainable shipping method would help protect items in shipping and cut down on the materials wasted in the shipping process. This idea would use organic materials and a sustainable business model to help customers receive products more efficiently. 

ideabuild second place winners pose with their award and Dr. Dave Kukurza

Third place, $300 prize: the team of Tiona Dunklin, Haven Papineau, and Hope Sizemore for their idea – the Wildlife Detector. The Wildlife Detector would be an after-market add-on to cars that could detect animals in the front and sides of a car while driving. The device would use a thermal camera to detect the animals and alert the driver before collisions. 

ideabuild third place winners pose with their award and Dr. Dave Kukurza

Learn more about the Burton D. Morgan Center for Integrated Entrepreneurship at Hiram College.

By Taylor Cook