The “GoMotion” team — comprising Mechanical Engineers Geoff Cullen, Carlton Forse and Ryan Gresh, and MBAs Mirela Ehlers, Abraham King’oo and Katherine Weeks — captured top honors in the Connecticut 60-second Elevator Pitch Olympics on April 7th in Southington.
The team took first place in the Four Year University Venture Enterprise Category. GoMotion competed against multiple teams from 15 universities. Each team had just one minute in which to succinctly describe their business venture to a panel of five expert judges from the entrepreneurial and intellectual property sectors from across the state. Competitors included teams from Yale University and other top institutions. The GoMotion system is a manual wheelchair add-on that uses mechanical advantage to make life in a wheelchair less burdensome.
Governor M. Jodi Rell announced the winners and presented a cash award to the team along with a glass trophy to the University of Connecticut. Carlton Forse delivered the top scoring pitch on behalf of the GoMotion team. Dr. Rich Dino, a member of the School of Business Management faculty and Executive Director of the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CCEI) was the team’s mentor.
This competition was part of the Collegiate Entrepreneurship and Innovation Conference hosted by Connecticut Innovations and sponsored by the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, Connecticut Innovations and Launch Capital. More than 200 people attended, representing entrepreneurial firms, the venture capital community, government, and academe. The event was designed to help nurture a stronger entrepreneurial and innovation culture within Connecticut and to provide a conduit for networking among stakeholders.
The GoMotion team is planning to compete in the upcoming statewide Spring 2009 Connecticut $64,000 Collegiate Business Plan Competition. The wheelchair design is one of four projects conceived by teams of engineering and MBA students in a unique collaboration between the Schools of Business and Engineering. The projects benefited from corporate sponsorship arranged by the University’s Office of Technology Commercialization.
The GoMotion prototype wheelchair will be unveiled later in April.
For additional details of the Engineering-Business Entrepreneurial Senior Design Partnership, please visit: http://www.engr.uconn.edu/transformingengrs.php