Students' silent signal takes third in business competition

” For one week this summer, five University of Akron students met on the main campus of Kent State University. Assisted by UA faculty member Denise Easterling, students Zachariah Szabo, Alexandra Frost, Jamie Montgomery, Anazette Hudson and Julie Repko participated in a workshop called Entrepreneurship Immersion Week.”

For one week this summer, five University of Akron students met on the main campus of Kent State University.

Assisted by UA faculty member Denise Easterling, students Zachariah Szabo, Alexandra Frost, Jamie Montgomery, Anazette Hudson and Julie Repko participated in a workshop called Entrepreneurship Immersion Week.

Throughout the week, lasting from Aug. 9 to Fri. Aug. 14, teams from seven colleges and universities attended workshops and lectures in finance, leadership and public speaking all centered on business and entrepreneurship. But apart from attending lectures and hearing from speakers, the teams spent the week developing a hypothetical product or service as part of a competition.

When developing their products teams were told to emphasize how the product would create jobs in Northeast Ohio, why it is needed, how feasible the product is, projected sales numbers and other factors that a real business would have to deal with when making a new product.

On the last day, UA’s team presented their idea through a PowerPoint presentation resulting in their product placing third in the competition.

Their idea is the Silent Signal, a keychain safety device with GPS capabilities. In case of an emergency you would press a button on the device.

The device sends a signal to nearby police stations of your location using GPS technology. You would feel more secure, said Szabo.

But there would be no issues of privacy. It wouldn’t track you all the time, said Repko. The device would maintain a constant, low-level connection to the closest satellite, but it would only send information when the button is pressed.

In addition to the silent signal that it sends out through the GPS, the device would also have an audible alarm.

The team took a survey of the product. About 76 percent of people surveyed said that they would buy the product and 96 percent said they would buy it for someone else.

They presented their idea to President Proenza on Sept. 2. They also presented their idea to UA police. The Cuyahoga Falls police department is also interested in meeting with the team.

Placing second in the competition was Ashland University with their idea for a healthy, fast food restaurant that sold locally grown food without pesticides.

The first place team was comprised of students from all of the involved colleges and universities, but was called the CSU team.

Their idea was for edible spoons made of granola. UA student Ryan Kinnan was part of this team. Retailers are currently interested in the CSU team’s edible spoons idea.

The other non-placing teams were Baldwin-Wallace, Case Western Reserve, John Carroll and Kent State with their ideas: Health-My-Self, a Web site to put your medical records on-line, Dinner Direct, a food delivery service, Suits 4 Success, custom tailored rental suits for college students, and Live Pitch, a social networking Web site for investors and entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurship Immersion Week is a workshop sponsored by the Entrepreneurship Education Consortium to educate future business leaders in Northeast Ohio. The Consortium was made possible with a grant from the Burton D. Morgan Foundation. Although centered on business and future business leaders, it isn’t just for business majors. We had three business majors, one photo major and one sociology major. The great thing is that it isn’t just for business majors; anyone could do it, said Repko. It was a great opportunity and for students out there wanting to start a business it’s there.