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Students to compete in Eagle Biz Awards

(EN Photo / Taylor Crehan)

The Lutgert College of Business and the U.A. Whitaker College of Engineering will once again team up to hold the Eagle Biz Awards on Friday, April 28 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Emergent Technologies Institute.

The Eagle Biz Awards, held by the FGCU Institute for Entrepreneurship, rewards both entrepreneurship and engineering students by allowing them to compete in teams to create a prototype of a product as well as a business plan that solves a problem in society.

According to a press release, during the event, groups will present their prototypes to a panel of judges in a pitch-style setting from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The judges will consist of entrepreneurs from the local community. There are, on average, 15 to 16 judges who review students’ projects.

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After the judging, awards will be given out from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., winners will be given a certificate and a cash prize.

The event is open to the public and will include a raffle drawing that will raise funds for student initiatives through entrepreneurship.

The FGCU Institute for Entrepreneurship is an “advocate for student entrepreneurship and innovation,” according to a press release. It provides students with support in their entrepreneurship endeavors.

Students in both engineering and entrepreneurship classes work together throughout the semester with Institute for Entrepreneurship director Sandra Kauanui and assistant engineering professor Joe Cuiffi to create their prototypes.

They are also paired up with community mentors that assist them in the creative process.

Last year’s Eagle Biz Awards, which was held on Saturday, Dec. 3, consisted of students enrolled in the engineering course ENG 3641C Engineering Entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurship course ENT 3114 New Venture Lab. Twenty-two teams competed.

The winning team from December’s competition from the New Venture Lab course was Go Lite, which aims to make clean, renewable energy accessible to developing countries while also benefiting those countries.

“(It’s) kind of like the Toms shoes model,” senior business marketing major Stanley Stouder told Eagle News last December. “Everybody needs shoes, but they’re also helping someone else by doing it.”

Last spring’s winning team was ILLUMITIZE, a visual alert system that was designed to encourage employees and visitors of a hospital to sanitize their hands before touching patients.

The group is now beta testing their device at Lee Health’s HealthPark Medical Center in Fort Myers.

Lutgert College of Business dean Robert Beatty attended the Eagle Biz Awards in December and was impressed by the creativity and ingenuity that students demonstrated.

“Even though people are very creative, it has to be brought out, and Dr. Kauanui and the several entrepreneurs who volunteer their time to help these kids think creatively and come up with new ideas is evident in that room,” Beatty told Eagle News last December.

For more information on the Eagle Biz Awards and the IFE, visit

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