Wayne State students win entrepreneur innovation prize

Marketing and information systems management major Natalia Kumar was part of a team of Wayne State University students who have won a $10,000 Mobile/Web award from the Michigan Collegiate Innovation Prize program. The Michigan Collegiate Innovation Prize is a six-month training program that offers students intensive startup training to go from an idea to venture launch.

More than 81 teams from across the state applied for the program and about 20 were selected to compete. Among those selected was a team of Wayne State students with DragAroundMe, which provides a simple and easy way to share, transfer and receive files without having to register for an account.

For six months, the student teams received mentoring and training from Michigan Innovation Corps (I-Corps), a statewide program designed to foster innovation and entrepreneurship in Michigan. Michigan I-Corps is based on the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps program. During this time, the teams also reached out to more than 1,000 potential customers for market research, networking and establishing roots in their communities.

"The entire program was an amazing learning experience for our team," said Kumar, who is also the president of the School of Business Administration Student Senate. "We were able to transform our technology startup by applying the knowledge we gained from the process and incorporating the advice we gained from our mentors. The program provided us will all the necessary tools to build our startup, as well as, take it to the next level."

On Feb. 14, the teams made final presentations at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Their presentations were judged by a panel of venture capitalists, members of the academic and business communities, and entrepreneurs. The judges considered a number of criteria including market need and potential, product definition, go-to market plans, cost and revenue forecast, and required capital investment. The Wayne State team received the top prize in the Mobile/Web category, winning $10,000 to invest in DragAroundMe.

The entire DragAroundMe team included:

  • Juan Chen, biomedical engineering graduate student
  • Bradlee Johnson, industrial design undergraduate student
  • Natalia Kumar, marketing and information systems management undergraduate student
  • Kun Wang, electrical and computer engineering graduate student

Learn more about DragAroundMe at dragaround.me.