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BW student entrepreneur wins funding for campus safety app at ideaLabs competition

 BW entrepreneur-in-residence, Linda G. Kanner, BW LaunchNET program manager, Hannah Schlueter, ideaLabs 3rd Place Winner, Sam Kratsas '21, and CIG Faculty Fellow, Dr. Lori Long celebrate the top thre

For the first time in 10 years, Baldwin Wallace University hosted the annual Entrepreneurship Education Consortium (EEC) Regional ideaLabs competition at the Center for Innovation & Growth, and BW computer science major Sam Kratsas '21 was among the winners.

The April 4 competition recognized 20 innovative ideas presented by 42 Northeast Ohio undergraduate students from EEC's 10 member institutions. With thousands of dollars in prize money on the line, more than 100 outside professionals, community members, faculty and friends were on hand to hear the pitches.

In addition to Kratsas, BW was represented by senior film and marketing major Matthew Harris '19. Both earned cash awards and the chance to pitch their venture ideas for more funding after claiming the top spots in the local BW ideaLabs competition in February.

Stand out pitch

Sam Kratsas '21 delivers his winning pitch for his app "Good Knight."The first part of the evening was an expo-style elevator pitch competition where students had three minutes to pitch their idea and answer questions from the judges. The judges scored each quick pitch and selected the top five ideas to move on to the final round, where each individual or team had eight minutes to present and three minutes to respond to a new set of judges' questions.

Harris pitched an online educational platform to help young adults learn the ins-and-outs of how to properly invest their money, while Kratsas was pulled through to the second and final round with his venture idea "Good Knight: Walk Safely" - a free app already available in Google Play and Apple's App Store where college students can find someone to walk home with safely at night.

After hearing from all five finalists, Kratsas was awarded third place and $1,000 for his idea. He plans to continue growing his userbase and working with BW Campus Safety & Security and other departments across the institution to improve the free application for student use, with hopes to pilot at other northeast Ohio campuses in the near future.

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