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Oregon Tech Announces Catalyze Klamath Falls Challenge 2018

Oct 17, 2017
Building on the success of the Catalyze Klamath Falls Challenge in 2016 and 2017, Oregon Tech is revving up its innovative engines again!

Oregon Tech’s Catalyze Klamath Falls Challenge has been a huge success for student competitors and the Klamath community. Over the past three years, 15 student/alumni teams have competed for over $40,000 in prize money that was generously donated by Representative Whitsett, Senator Whitsett, Klamath County, City of Klamath Falls, KCEDA, Avista, the Gaucho Collective, the Herald & News, Klamath IDEA, Oregon BEST, Business Oregon, the Wendt Family Foundation, and Black Canyon Woodworks.

The winning team in 2015, Gro-volution, is continuing to grow under the leadership of one of its founders, Eric Wilson. Eric is moving ahead to build the Gro-volution business, a sustainable agriculture production system ("In the box farming"), with the help of their $5,000 first place prize, and subsequent loans and investments from community members and organizations. The winning team in 2016, GO Possibilities, with members Matthew Stansbury, Eric Tipler, Ben Fawver, and Tate Orlik Hill, is still engaged in research to produce graphene oxide -- a highly conductive fluid that is made of carbon, at lower cost and using less toxic chemicals than currently available products. Several team members are enrolled in graduate study programs that provide access to sophisticated equipment to help further their product development.

The winner in 2017, Helios Hive, formed by student inventor Mathias Dean, has just completed its first prototype of a solar-powered bee hive that will kill a predatory mite that is a responsible for the decline in the bee population worldwide. Mathias and business partner, Baker McDonald just competed in the InventOR competition at the state level in October and their team was awarded $2,500 for the best pitch presentation. Helios Hive will test their prototype this summer with Klamath Falls bee keepers.

The 2018 Catalyze Klamath Falls Challenge Kick-off Meeting will be on October 24, 2017 from 5 – 7 pm at the Gaucho Collective on Main Street in Klamath Falls. Catalyze 2018 will be similar in format to last year, with teams competing for prizes, receiving coaching and technical assistance, as well as participating in a Shark Tech pitch session and development of a business plan to commercialize their invention. The winning teams will receive over $15,000 in cash and in-kind business supports, to enhance their ability to start and grow successful companies in the region.

Oregon Tech is encouraging all student project teams in both the Colleges of ETM and HAS to consider competing in the Challenge, and to form multi-disciplinary teams of engineers or healthcare majors with management and entrepreneurship students.

The Oregon Tech community is rich in talent and the Klamath community is rich in its desire and support to grow and sustain new invention-based companies in the region.

Preliminary Schedule of Events

  • October 24, 2017 from 5 7 pm: Catalyze Klamath Challenge IV Kick-Off Meeting. This is a hosted event at the Gaucho Collective for students, faculty, and community members to learn about the contest and begin to form teams. Gaucho Collective, 1038 Main St., Klamath Falls 97601.
  • November 7, 2017: Preliminary Concept Pitch and Resource Solicitation at the Gaucho Collecrtive.
  • November 27, 2017 - Jan 12, 2018: Catalyze Team Registration Window– Final Deadline is January 12, 2018.
  • January 17, 2018: Catalyze Team Meet and Greet. This is a hosted event for all teams to meet with mentor network and learn about external resources that are available to teams; Location TBD
  • March 7, 2018: Annual SharkTech Venture Pitch Contest –Tentative date This is the first competitive event for all student teams. (Mandatory) Contact Mark.Ahalt@oit.edu.
  • April 30, 2018: Final Report Due See details, final report submission requirements at www.oit.edu/catalyze.
  • May 17, 2018: Catalyze Klamath Falls Challenge Contest at Oregon Tech College Union. Teams will compete in front of a panel of judges for the PRIZES! We will post a list of judges, prizes and final details when we get closer to the date. Refreshments will be served for all team members.

See oit.edu/catalyze for specific dates, contest rules and judging rubrics or contact Professor Hallie Neupert at hallie.neupert@oit.edu.

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