Ideas to Improve Student Life Win Business Contest

Contest Gives Participants a Jump on Turning Entrepreneur Plans into Realities

Dec. 6, 2012

This year, winning ideas were all about making life easier for students at the sixth Annual UT Dallas Business Idea Competition. Top proposals included simplifying on-campus parking and facilitating “crowd scholarships.”

Janus Venter, Megan Tan and Mindy Tiu

(left to right): Members of Team You-Park included Janus (Petrus) Venter, a senior business administration major; Megan Tan, a senior majoring in arts and technology; and Mindy Tiu, a junior majoring in management information systems.

Team You-Park won the Dallas Mavericks Entrepreneurship Award and first place prize in the undergraduate division with a plan for a mobile phone app that helps students find the most convenient on-campus parking. Team members appreciated how well the competition mimicked the real-world business pitching process.

“Our experience was very indicative of how our pitches will go,” said Mindy Tiu, a junior majoring in management information systems in the Naveen Jindal School of Management.

Winners of the graduate division, Team BrainFund, run a patent-pending company that facilitates small donations from large groups of people who give to participating students. Team members credited the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship’s academic director Dr. Joe Picken with helping them prepare for the competition.

Matthew Hinson and Alejandro Jacobo

Team BrainFund, winners of the Dallas Mavericks Entrepreneurship Award and first place prize, included MBA student Matthew Hinson and Alejandro Jacobo, a graduate student in the Jindal School’s innovation and entrepreneurship program. “By going through this competition, you truly learn,” Jacobo said.

“He taught us what to learn before speaking to investors,” said Matthew Hinson, a graduate student in the professional MBA program. “Through this competition, we learned so much about presenting and how to prepare for a pitch.”

The competition, which was sponsored by the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UT Dallas, offered $20,000 in cash prizes. Sponsors included Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, Amy Cockerham, Hie Electronics, Mr. and Mrs. Dan Owen, SPlus Technologies, Trailblazer Capital, Trans Global Technologies, Inc. and the supporters of the institute’s Innovation Alliance.

The first-place teams also will receive incubator space in the UT Dallas Venture Development Center and office space from the Common Desk in Deep Ellum.

“I saw so many great projects this year,” Jackie Kimzey, executive director of the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UT Dallas, said. “Many of them have the potential to go further.”

Open to all UT Dallas students, the competition attracted 121 entrants organized into 48 teams. Twenty-four teams advanced to the final day of competition, where the students presented their ideas to judges drawn from a wide variety of professions. Venture capitalists, inventors, intellectual property lawyers, management executives, and merger and acquisitions experts evaluated teams’ business ideas as well as their presentation quality.

Amy Cockerham, chief development officer with River Rock Holdings and IIE advisory board member, judged in the undergraduate division.

“The students’ passion and the level of detail in their presentations were impressive,” she said. “I hear venture pitches all the time, and the one I heard was more detailed than what I usually get.”

The Seventh Annual UT Dallas Business Idea Competition will be held November 22, 2013. More information will be available on the IIE website in August 2013.

Winning Teams

Undergraduate Division

Dallas Mavericks Entrepreneurship Award (First Place, $5,000 prize): Team You-Park. Megan Tan, Mindy Tiu and Janus (Petrus) Venter. Business idea: automated parking management and reservation software.

Trans Global Technologies Entrepreneurship Award (Second Place, $2,500 prize): Team Personal Shopper. Justen Burrhus and Shannon Hapeman. Business idea: platform to provide product information and location for shoppers in-store.

Third Place ($1,500 prize): Team Remora. Puja Panwar and Zoe Wilson. Business idea: ride-sharing website with increased safety features and convenient access to global hostels and hotels.

Fourth Place ($1,000 prize): Team Simple Sign In. Aliya Anis, Nate Bleker and Saamer Mansoor. Business idea: electronic registration system to improve efficiency of signing in or voting at meetings.

Graduate Division

Dallas Mavericks Entrepreneurship Award (First Place, $5,000 prize): Team BrainFund. Alejandro Jacobo and Matthew Hinson. Business idea: online social platform to give college students the ability to raise money for their education by tapping into their existing social networks.

Trans Global Technologies Entrepreneurship Award (Second Place, $2,500 prize): Global Print Solution. Leran Liu and Wenjing Qiang. Business idea: output data management software that performs automated formatting of an existing print file.

Third Place ($1,500 prize): Team FitBuddy. Nikunj Nirmal, Scott Wade and Vance Weintraub. Business idea: software application for measuring workout statistics for weight training exercises.

Fourth Place ($1,000 prize): Team Memor. Sruti Jilla, Gilda Majidi and Amir Najian. Business idea: interactive device to help patients with early stage dementia or Alzheimer’s remember where they are if they are lost.


Media Contact: Karah Womack, UT Dallas, (972) 883-5890, [email protected]
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected]
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Industry Veteran to Lead Institute
for Innovation and Entrepreneurship


Jackie Kimzey, Executive Director The Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Jackie Kimzey

Jackie Kimzey, an industry veteran with more than 30 years’ experience in the technology sector, is the new executive director of the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UT Dallas (IIE).

The appointment was effective in August. Kimzey succeeds Dr. Joseph C. Picken, the institute’s founder and academic director. Picken will lead new academic initiatives designed for budding entrepreneurs.

“I’m pleased to pass the IIE leadership torch to Jackie Kimzey, with whom I’ve worked closely for several years,” Dr. Picken said. “I know that he’ll do an outstanding job. I’ll continue to be involved as the institute’s academic director and as an active member of Jackie’s team.”

Kimzey has held management positions at the semiconductor manufacturer Mostek. He was also co-founder and CEO of wireless provider ProNet, where he helped develop proprietary products, generated turn-around strategies, recruited top executives and played key roles in mergers and acquisitions. Kimzey remains a general partner at Sevin Rosen Funds, where he applies his experience and entrepreneurial perspective to companies in the wireless and software arena, including Invodo, Verified Person and others.

Now in his fourth year with the Jindal School, Kimzey is putting his business skills into practice with the IIE. His annual plan for the IIE prioritizes preparing students for careers in innovation.

“I’m an industry guy,” Kimzey said. “I plan to use my background to serve as a bridge between our students and industry.”

Kimzey earned an MBA from the University of Dallas, and earned a master of science in management and human relations at Abilene Christian University.


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June 24, 2018