Innovative Oregon Institute of Technology (Oregon Tech) student entrepreneurs competed April 21 for $19,000 in seed money to turn their product ideas and prototypes into real businesses. The winning concept, developed by students Gabbi Pech and Hayden Pech, known as team Stellarum Publishing, is a customizable planning notebook and companion app that can be used to organize tabletop role playing games.
Oregon Tech’s Catalyze Klamath Challenge has been a huge success for student competitors and the Klamath Falls community. Over the past eight years, student and alumni teams have competed for nearly $100,000 in prize money and services, setting up businesses throughout Klamath Falls.
The seven project teams who presented at Catalyze are:
- Find New Trails
- Bradley Everest, 2023, Business - Marketing
- Michael Drury, 2023, Business - Management
- Hemp Project
- Luke Hongel, 2025, Mechanical Engineering
- Ezra Neese, 2025, Electrical Engineering
- Joshua Moore, 2025, Renewable Energy Engineering
- Klamath Angel Mobile Health
- Chrys Chan, 2022, Information Technology
- Le Quynh Dao Nguyen, 2022, Information Technology
- National Early Response Firefighting System (NERFS)
- Graeme Wiltrout, 2026, Dual Computer & Software Engineering
- Eddie Medina, 2024, Software Engineering Technology*
- Jemisha Vargas, 2025, Software Engineering Technology
- Marcus Delamarter, 2023, Mechanical Engineering
- Fletcher Stults, 2023, Mechanical Engineering
- Toby Ruston, 2025, Mechanical Engineering
- Pelican Plaza - Food Trucks on Main
- Matt Volpe, 2023, Embedded Systems
- Eren Bikmaz, 2022, Software Engineering Technology
- Niles Walter, 2023, Manufacturing Engineering Technology
- Mariano Segura, 2022, Mechanical Engineering
- Hanna Wolf, 2022, Renewable Energy Engineering
- Stellarum Publishing
- Gabbi Pech, 2022, Business - Marketing
- Hayden Pech, 2022, Business - Marketing
* Eddie Medina passed away in February 2022.
Throughout the event, finalists presented and defended their business plans to judges John Lamy, Lamy Consulting; Randy Cox, KCEDA; Heather Harter, Chamber of Commerce; Richard La China, Ninja Mountain Mike Performance; and Kingsley Kelley, KOBI-TV/KOTI-TV.
|First Place – Stellarum Publishing||Second Place - Solaband||Third Place – Klamath Angel Mobile Health|
The winning projects were:
- First Place – Stellarum Publishing: $6,000 prize
- Second Place - Solaband: $4,000 prize
- Third Place – Klamath Angel Mobile Health: $2,000 prize
- Entrepreneur in Action – Stellarum Publishing: $1,000 prize
- People’s Choice – National Early Response Firefighting System: $1,000 prize
Additionally, NERFS and Klamath Angel Mobile Health were awarded $2,500 each from Invent Oregon (InventOR) to further develop their business plans and compete against other colleges and universities in the statewide InventOR competition on June 24. Klamath Community College (KCC) teams Diesel Weasels and Tayas Yawks from the Badger Venture contest will be among those competing.
The 2022 Catalyze Challenge is supported by investments from community sponsors: AVISTA, Business Oregon, the City of Klamath Falls, Klamath County, Klamath County Economic Development Association (KCEDA), Klamath IDEA Center for Entrepreneurship, VertueLab, Oregon Small Business Development Center, and the Wendt Family Foundation.
For more information regarding the Catalyze Klamath Falls Challenge, visit www.oit.edu/catalyze.