Three winners in CC’s ‘Big Idea’ entrepreneurial contest

Hand drawing light bulb

(Published 1:15 p.m. April 5, 2013)

A pocket brain monitoring device, a luxury accessories line and a fresh fish farm using aquaponics could be some of the next big ideas.

They are the three top ideas that took home cash prizes Thursday at Colorado College’s “The Big Idea” contest, where students were vying for a chance to win cash — $50,000 for the top three teams.

In January, the college launched the competition with students presenting their entrepreneurial proposals to a judging panel in hopes of winning $50,000 that would help launch their venture. Twenty-eight teams submitted proposals.

Thursday, judges named the five finalists who then presented in front of an audience of about 400.

The winner of $38,000  was Trevor Barron’s and Jesse Marble’s team, Brayn. Their goal was to create the world’s first pocket EEG (brain monitoring) platform. The demonstrated a working prototype. Their product would allow people with epilepsy to track, manage and eventually predict their epilepsy events using their smartphone and an unobtrusive scalp monitor.

In second place for $10,000 was Francisco Castro’s project, Artizan of the Andes. Castro’s project aims to create luxury accessories from traditional handicrafts and products. Castro plans to assist marginalized rural populations of Ecuador by creating a market and incentivizing producers with technical and creative assistance to produce high-quality handicraft products.

And in third place for $2,000 was City Roots, a team made up of Fredrik Lindseth, Jeremy Harlam and Sara Birmingham. City Roots plans to sell fresh, local, healthy fish and produce using aquaponics, the farming of both fish and produce in a closed system that they say will lower cost and increase yield.

“The program was started to gauge student interest in entrepreneurial opportunities,” said Coordinator of Innovation and Incubation Stephen Kaczmarek. He is a 1989 graduate of Colorado College who worked with CC President Jill Tiefenthaler and Dean of Students Mike Edmonds on the trial program.

“The focus is on the teaching/learning experience vs. the prize money,” he said.

The goal was to allow any student with an idea, regardless of the student’s major, the opportunity to develop a business plan and compete, he said.