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BW entrepreneurs stand out in regional ideaLabs competition screen shotStarting a new venture from the ground up can be tough, but BW Conservatory of Music students Lesley Rudin '21 and Andrew Furio '20 are winning awards for their ideas! Rudin and Furio won fourth place at the regional Entrepreneurship Education Consortium's ideaLabs competition with their concept.

Undergraduate students from 10 Northeast Ohio universities developed business ideas and entered the ideaLabs competition on their respective campuses first. The top two from each school moved onto the regional competition, where they presented to judges for cash prizes.

The competition featured tech, medical, science, arts and business student-entrepreneurs.

Solving Real-World Problems with BW Innovation was born in a Conservatory entrepreneurship and advocacy class where students created a solution for a problem. Finding a school of music had been a challenging journey for Rudin, who is majoring in instrumental performance and music history and literature. She felt that if she could find a way to connect future music students to schools, it would benefit both students and universities. Rudin and Furio, a music education major, continued to pursue the idea with BW LaunchNET, winning a $1,000 award for their vision.

When launched, will allow students interested in pursuing music majors to explore music schools across the country. Students will be matched with schools that connect with their interests after creating a profile on the website. Universities will pay to advertise their programs to students and high school guidance counselors.

Entrepreneurship - Not Just for Business Majors

Rudin describes ideaLabs as "such a great program and chance to get feedback on your business idea. I'm very excited and hopeful for the future of my idea and to put the judges' thoughts to work."

Rudin also admits, "I am not business-minded at all. I never thought of myself as an entrepreneur." But, the process allowed Rudin to stretch her beliefs about what she could achieve. "Anyone can do what I did. They just need to think of a common problem and try and fix it. It's a real exercise in creativity."

Megan Kuhar, BW assistant professor of music technology, said, "Rudin's idea synthesized the innovative thinking that so many of our colleagues hope to instill in our students."

Also competing in the ideaLabs competition was Nicole Babik '22, a middle childhood education major. She received a $100 Honorable Mention award for her business, Notably Yours Greeting Cards.

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