TOP DAWG competition showcases student innovation, entrepreneurship

Apr 16, 2013 | Business, Engineering and Science

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Students entrepreneurs at Louisiana Tech University will have an opportunity to showcase their innovative product and service ideas during the 2013 TOP DAWG New Venture Championship, April 23 in the Louisiana Tech Student Center.

The annual event provides an opportunity for students to create business investment decks based on ideas pitched during the TOP DAWG Idea Pitch, the preliminary event to the New Venture Championship, and to compete for a total of $10,000 in cash prizes.  Bulldog Entrepreneurs, a student organization that promotes entrepreneurship and innovation on the Louisiana Tech campus, holds the competitions to encourage students to build creative products and services that create value in the marketplace.

The competition showcases intellectual properties developed by Louisiana Tech researchers and students with participants promoting new technologies as well as creating non-technology based ventures.  The TOP DAWG New Venture Championship is an integral part of the focus of Louisiana Tech’s Enterprise Campus, giving students, faculty and alumni the chance to work together and develop innovative ideas into real businesses. 

Bulldog Entrepreneurs assisted the student teams throughout the competitions by holding training sessions on building business investment decks and providing mentorship from business experts.  Mentors included Andrea Drake, Bryan Townsend, Bill Stammerjohan, Davy Norris, Shane Puckett, Son Le, Tim Bisping, Gene Trammell, Jay Bennett, Jeff Parker, Kathy Wyatt, Neal Carter, and Rich Kordal.

The mentorship included Norris preparing teams to begin building their decks by talking about their revenue models.  Dr. Sean Dwyer, associate professor of marketing, spoke about marketing research necessary for business planning and Bill Elmore, CEO of Commander Communications, gave team members advice about management structures for start-ups.  Stammerjohan gave tips on building the financial sections of a business investment deck.

Louisiana Tech’s College of Business and College of Engineering and Science funded a total of $5,000 in prize money to be divided among the first, second, and third place teams.  The Innovation Enterprise Fund at Louisiana Tech is sponsoring a $1,000 award, which will supplement the prize money given to the first place team.

Other awards include the $2,000 Best Presentation Award, provided through funds by the Ruston-Lincoln Parish Business Awards Breakfast, a collaborate event of the Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce and the College of Business.  The $2,000 Jones Walker Entrepreneurial Spirit Award, funded by Jones Walker, recognizes the team with the most entrepreneurial spirit.

Since its inception in 1937, Jones Walker has grown over the past several decades in size and scope to become one of the largest law firms in the United States. We serve local, regional, national, and international business interests in a wide range of markets and industries. Today, we have more than 375 attorneys in Alabama, Arizona, California, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, and Texas. For more information, visit

The schedule for the TOP DAWG New Venture Championship team presentations is as follows:

  • 10:00 – 10:25: What’s Next? – Connecting universities with talented students
  • 10:30 – 10:55: K.H.B.S. – Modern assistive technology products for power wheelchairs
  • 11:00 – 11:25: PureSol – Solar-powered water purifier
  • 11:30 – 11:55: VOD (Vaso-occlusion Detection) – Develops diagnostic tools for caregivers of persons with sickle cell disease
  • 1:00 – 1:25: ΔG – Provides a revolutionary charging solution for smart phones.
  • 1:30 – 1:55: ConnectOne – Developed a new auxiliary cord to help LifeProof iPhone case users access their music more conveniently without loss of case protection.
  • 2:00 – 2:25: Graphene Image Recognition – GCAP is building graphene image recognition software.
Judges for the TOP DAWG New Venture Championship include Michael Chin, vice president of marketing for Praeses; Michael Leachman, partner with JonesWalker; Miriam Russell, owner, Wyatt & Associates; and Bob Tucker, partner with JonesWalker. Teams will be judged on the written decks, oral presentation, and business feasibility.