“I am from a small African country called Ghana. We have a saying. It’s called ‘Sankofa’ and it means going back to your past and pulling that experience with you or taking it forward, ”said Ebenezer Dadson ’21, who won a scholarship worth $ 15,000 for the top prize. of the Social Business Track of the 2020 Fowler Business Concept Challenge. Dadson, who is pursuing his master’s degree in electrical engineering, won the Auris AI award, innovative stethoscopes that can save millions of lives.
For Dadson, his concept is more than an academic problem-solving exercise. He has first-hand experience of what can happen when access to health care is insufficient: “When I was young my grandfather passed away due to the lack of access to health care in Ghana, so I hope to be able to move forward with this project. I can increase access here and abroad … I really appreciate that, Ron and Alexis Fowler. Thanks to the staff at St. Thomas. It’s really unbelievable.
Sankofa was a fitting theme for the Fowler Business Concept Challenge, which ended last Friday at an online awards ceremony. Ron Fowler, entrepreneur and owner of the San Diego Padres, graduated from St. Thomas University in 1966 and has been paying it ever since. Over the past 12 years, Fowler has contributed $ 616,000 to scholarships for aspiring entrepreneurs. This year, Fowler donated a record $ 87,000 in scholarships which were awarded to a record 32 teams. The competition produced 88 new concepts out of a total of 112 students representing 20 different majors.
The President of the University of St. Thomas, Julie Sullivan, delivered the opening remarks at the ceremony. “Entrepreneurship has been a core value in Ron Fowler’s life. He has a real gift for seeing innovation and defining potential in creative problem solving, and more importantly, he generously shares that gift by encouraging and supporting students to create new ideas and spark innovation, and ultimately to solve the problems that matter to them and our world. Ron is the ultimate difference maker and inspires us all to do better … Thank you, Ron, for creating this springboard that allows us to cultivate and reward entrepreneurship in our students, and ultimately, in our world. “
Laura Dunham, Associate Dean of the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship, moderated the event which included eight finalists from the Non-Profit Social Enterprise Stream and the For-Profit Enterprise Stream. “The Fowler Business Concept Challenge is a flagship event here in St. Thomas, and a critically important vehicle for unleashing the entrepreneurial potential of all students at our university,” said Dunham.
Asher Anderson ’23 won the top business award for Epiblock, a medical device that will help people with chronic nosebleeds. “My product puts pressure on the blood arteries in the nasal cavity, stops nosebleeds very quickly, and is sustainable by reducing the amount of tissue used … I’m a little short of breath,” said Anderson, who had an inspirational post for his fellow competitors. “During the Fowler contest, I couldn’t believe all the amazing ideas. I hope that all Fowler contest entrants will continue to share their idea regardless of their placement in this contest.
Winners of the Fowler Business Concept Challenge 2020:
Business concept track
- First place ($ 15,000): Epiblock, Asher Anderson. Silicone-based product used to reduce the amount of blood and the time it takes to stop nosebleeds.
- Second place ($ 7,500): SipliSafe, Connor Glinski and Andrew Morse. Continuous monitoring of “smart” straw with the ability to detect the full spectrum of date-rape drugs.
- Third place ($ 5,000): Nanocide, Jack Queenan and Broderick Runez. New phone screen using antimicrobial peptides to kill bacteria.
- Fourth place ($ 2,500): VitiSchedule, Rachel Farah. Visual planning app to help children with autism spectrum disorders and structure their lives.
Social enterprise journey
- First place ($ 15,000): Auris AI, Ebenezer Dadson. AI-assisted stethoscopes that capture, analyze and interpret acoustic signals and show results in real time.
- Second place ($ 7,500): Got It Foods, Jenny Behrens. Ships nearly expired food packages to food deserts in the metropolitan area at an affordable price.
- Third place ($ 5,000): The Green Mountain Project, Cory Kaisersatt and Ben Hogan. Create snow pants from reused billboard vinyl to help people struggling with homelessness.
- Fourth place ($ 2,500): SparkConnect, Nicki Hangsleben. A mentoring program for LGBTQ + youth at risk.