Oregon Tech’s first Catalyze Klamath Falls Challenge was a huge success, with five student/alumni teams competing for $9,000 in prize money that was generously donated by Representative Gail Whitsett, Senator Doug Whitsett, and Klamath County. The winning team, Gro-volution, with alumni members Eric Wilson, Derek Pallett, Nathan Leung, is moving ahead to expand their business, a sustainable agriculture production system ("In the box farming"), with the help of their $5,000 first place prize.
The distinguished panel of judges from Oregon’s entrepreneurial community were impressed with all the team presentations, inventions and business plans, especially the number of teams that focused on solving local and rural problems with creative solutions. The judges also provided a lot of solid advice to help the teams fine-tune their innovations, improve their financial and marketing plans, and build business support networks.
The 2016 Challenge will be similar in format to last year, with teams 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. Challenge 2016 will also improve in some substantive ways, based on input from the judges and participants. The winning teams will receive prize money, and a package of business supports, in collaboration with the Klamath IDEA and the Sustainable Valley Technology Group in Medford, to enhance their ability to start and grow successful companies.
Oregon Tech is encouraging all senior project teams in both the Colleges of ETM and HAS to compete in the Challenge, and to form multi-disciplinary teams of engineers or healthcare majors with management and entrepreneurship students.
Hallie Neupert, Oregon Tech’s Interim Dean of the College of Engineering, Technology and Management said, “Oregon Tech students are rich in talent and the Klamath community is rich in its desire to support, grow and sustain new invention-based companies in the region. This will be an exciting second year for this tremendous event for everyone in involved.”
Preliminary Schedule of Events
October 27, 2015 from 5 – 7 PM at the Oregon Tech College Union, Sunset Room: Klamath IDEA Talk and Catalyze Kick-Off Meeting with interested students, faculty and staff- learn about the opportunity, find others who want to form a team, offer to participate in the event.
January 29, 2016: Team Registration deadline
February 29, 2016: Preliminary Concept Proposal deadline
March 2016: Shark Tech Competition
May 2016: Business Plans Due
May 2016: Catalyze Klamath Falls II Competition