On February 8 and 9 the eighth annual Entrepreneur Boot Camp took place in EME. Fifteen teams of students competed for the top idea, along with cash prizes contributed from a community sponsor, Odlum Brown. Saturday was devoted to preparation, while Sunday was the day of presentations.

On Saturday when I asked some of the students about why they decided to participate, I received the following responses: “our main project is to go through the process of creating an app and everything that's involved with it”, “for our class, we have to participate”, “to get more experience in the start-up field”, “then we get to write something in our resume”, “for the money”.

On Sunday, the presentations started at 11:30 a.m. Each 15-minute performance included a pitch and a series of questions from the judges. Start-up ideas included apps to facilitate the purchase of clothes online, an app to solve the parking problem on campus, an app to match Chinese students with native speakers for the purposes of socialization in English, and apps to help people with planning their evenings out. I was particularly amused to find out that the technology to take body measurements with the help of gadgets already exists.

The winning teams were Charity Check, Secure Exchange, SurgVRy, SimpleFoods, and True North Studios. I will recount two ideas that I personally found the most interesting. SurgVRy is an educational platform for surgeons to practice surgeries in virtual reality. This project was proposed by James Kuvai. SimpleFoods is the name of an app suggested by Hardikaa Balasubramaniam and Renee Chiu. The goal of the project is to match students who know how to cook and like to do it with those who do not, thus decreasing food insecurity on campus.

In my opinion, Entrepreneur Boot camp was a great opportunity to practice pitching and try oneself in entrepreneurship. Also, it was inspiring to listen to all the creative ideas about how to improve our lives.