On Wednesday, April 26th, the Library Gallery was teaming with supporters who turned out for the fourth annual Cangialosi Business Innovation Competition (CBIC). Made possible by a generous gift from alumnus and serial entrepreneur Greg Cangialosi, and coordinated by UMBC’s Alex. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship, the CBIC offers students an opportunity to experience the process of planning a start-up business.
This year, over thirty (30) ideas were submitted to the competition and the top six (6) were presented at the final competition. The judging panel consisted of David Stack, Senior VP of UBS, Meredith Persico, Operations Manager of the Baltimore Angels, and Greg Cangialosi himself.
UMBC undergraduate and graduate students participated and each person/team was paired with a business mentor to help them further develop and polish their idea prior to the final competition.
Stakes were high with cash awards of $3,000 for 1st place, $2,000 for 2nd place and $1,000 for 3rd place, with an additional $2,000 available after a 6-month review, as well as a 6 month membership to Betamore, a Federal Hill based incubator and educational facility co-founded by Cangialosi.
First place was awarded to Aye-Aye. Their invention provides people with vision impairment a non-sensory-blocking means of ‘seeing’ what is around them. They designed a computerized device which is worn as a waist band and vibrates as the user nears objects. An enthusiastic presentation was given by Chris Bodan with demonstrations of the prototype by his team member, James Baker. In their words, “Participating in the CBIC was a life changing experience. In just over a month, we took an idea and transformed it into a full business proposition.The CBIC isn't just a contest. The guidance, advice, and resources you are given along the way are invaluable. The CBIC is an opportunity for students to take a ‘what if’ and turn it into something extraordinary."
Second place was awarded to Aerwell, a clean energy device that extracts clean and pure water from humidity in the air to provide fresh water and sustainable energy. The water can then be used either for drinking or for agricultural purposes. Engineering team members Benjamin Hallett, Elyse Hill, Hannah Corcos and Christian Ingham presented the idea and idea originator Bedford Boylston joined in for the Q &A session. This is the second year in a row Aerwell placed in the Top 3. The judges were particularly impressed with the progress that had been made developing a working prototype. Hill remarked, "We never expected to be in a business competition as mechanical engineers. But then we were presented with this great opportunity through our senior design class, and through the support of our mentors we were able to learn about entrepreneurship as it applies to our field. We hope to encourage other technical majors who may not think this is an option for them to consider entrepreneurship and opportunities like this."
Finally, third place was awarded to GermoSense, a device that can detect sepsis, and determine whether a certain antibiotic will provide effective treatment of the infection in under an hour. GermoSense was invented and presented by grad student Mustafa Al-Adhami. Regarding the opportunity, Al-Adhami said, “"Great experience, great mentors, and so many great ideas".
Participation in the competition is just the first phase of the business education the winning teams will experience. By far the most important part of the CBIC will be what comes next, the involvement in Betamore programming and events which will provide valuable connections to the Baltimore business community.
We would like to say congratulations to all participants who entered. We are so proud of the innovation and creativity at UMBC and are excited to see what’s next!
Pictured from left to right, Mustafa Al-Adhimi, James Baker, Chris Bodan, Greg Cangialosi, Benjamin Hallett, Christian Ingham, Elyse Hill, and Hannah Corcos