Mechanical engineering students Chris Messecar and Blake Agy will be pitching their product and vying for awards in the Schulze Entrepreneurship Challenge at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis April 12-15. Teams from 90 universities around the country applied, and WMU’s team was one of just 25 finalists. Messecar and another teammate, Jonathan Penrod, are the developers of a device called Speed E-Box, which reduces the time to install an electrical junction box by eliminating the need to pre-cut drywall. They placed 4th at the Accelerate Michigan Competition in November.
The entrepreneurship challenge is part of “e-Fest,” an event where the student teams will participate in a pitch competition, development workshops, an Innovation Challenge, and the featured event – the 25 finalist teams competing for awards and cash prizes totaling $250,000, with a 1st place prize of $75,000.
“We are so pleased to see Chris and Blake invited to this event,” said Lara Hobson, operations director of WMU’s Starting Gate business accelerator. “They were selected as one of the best business pitches in a rigorous online competition by a panel of 40 judges. There were very competitive teams from many outstanding universities. It will be exciting to see them competing with the best of the best.”
The Schulze Entrepreneurship Challenge is made possible thanks in part to Richard Schulze, founder of Best Buy. Travel expenses and accommodations are provided for the finalists and advisors as well.