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Plants come to light in BW student's winning idea

Entrepreneurship Education Consortium (EEC) logoThe light bulb went on in more ways than one when J.T. Schroeder '23 thought up his winning idea for the 2021 BW ideaLabs Pitch Contest.

Branch Light, the concept imagined by the business information systems major, is a combination lampstand and plant holder. The lampstand has rings that hold potted plants and features UV bulbs that face downward to give light to the plants below.

Fertile environment for new ideas

Schroeder's idea sprouted from a colloquium class exercise in BW's Center for Innovation and Growth (CIG). Students were challenged to combine items from a dorm room to create something entirely new. Schroeder came up with the idea when given a plant and a lamp.

After surveying fellow students, Schroeder realized that he was onto something that could be a good concept. The idea then went under a semester of development in a biomimicry class.

"Being in an environment where classes promote the development of creative ideas and having the available centers and even competitions (such as the one I entered) are all ways I see BW encouraging college students to pursue ideas," Schroeder says.

The idea has been used for several of his classes, such as accounting and marketing. Schroeder says he appreciates the ability to see real-life applications through his invention in his classwork.

Schroeder's Branch Light idea went on to take fifth place out of 22 pitches at the regional Entrepreneurship Education Consortium (EEC) ideaLabs competition in early April.

Filmmakers' experience reels in second place

To determine the regional competitors, BW's LaunchNET ideaLabs Pitch Contest encourages any BW student to give a six-minute pitch around a new invention. Hannah Schlueter, LaunchNET program manager, made herself available to help students with their ideas.

In second place at the BW ideaLabs Pitch Contest was a concept called Future Filmmakers designed by arts management and entrepreneurship major Jess Delap '21.

Her program idea brings high school students together to promote artistic expression and prepare them for cinematic careers.

A team of professors judged projects. The prizes for first and second place were $1,000 and $500, respectively, giving innovators support to develop their projects.

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