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Big Idea Competition at Bradley returns for annual event

Tapduc’s booth at the competition
Photo by Payton Egnew

The Turner School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation hosted their Big Idea Competition where Bradley students gathered in the Peplow Pavilion of the Hayden-Clark Alumni Center to showcase their own products and business ideas this past Thursday.

For the competition, students submitted their idea in a two-page paper to a set of judges who then decided who would proceed onto the next round. The second round, which was held Thursday, consists of teams pitching their ideas to judges and anyone who is curious to know more. For inventions and ideas that move into the third round, teams will submit a ten-page feasibility plan to the judges.

The competition is an opportunity for Bradley students to springboard their original products and services from being an idea to a reality. The top four finalists will receive cash prizes over $1,000 and free accounting and legal services from local experts and free rental to co-working spaces in Peoria. 

Twenty-two different teams took part in the second round and pitched their ideas to the judges and the public.

One team showcased their invention called Shothawk. This product consists of a rotating and fast moving camera that uses AI to determine if someone is holding a gun. If the person is holding a gun, the camera can be activated with a button and will shoot the suspect with gel pepper spray.

The team is wanting to place these cameras in K-12 schools in order to minimize school shootings.

“A primary positive is that we have three mechanical engineers on the team so we got a prototype fairly quickly and have the components to make it work,” junior mechanical engineering major Nathan Grove said.

Programming the technology for the camera is something that the team is struggling with, but they are working on getting software to be able to operate and solve the programming problems that are occurring.

Another obstacle that the team is overcoming is budget constraints due to breakage of the prototypes.

“I feel really great about this [the product]. We’re primarily trying to protect people in public locations. We’re trying to save lives,” Grove said. “I really see this going somewhere that can bridge the gap between when an incident breaks out and when police or safety officials arrive.”

Another team that showcased their pitch at the competition was a lotion brand called Handy Balms. This lotion is an alternative to normal lotion and lasts longer on your skin.

This product comes in a completely biodegradable tube that reveals the solidified lotion when opened. Along with the packaging, the team sends out their products in a home-compostable zero-waste bag.

Stats shown at the competition stated that the business has made $2,500 in sales in eight months, has had over 120 customers in eight states, 17 five-star reviews and a 74 percent profit margin on products. Handy Balms was the only registered business in the competition.

A company titled Eastside Square Therapeutic Massage also showcased their pitch for a massage workshop to teach people how to give massages at home. During their pitch, the team explained how people go to get massages, but don’t know how to do one at home.

Many different types of workshops are offered such as couples massages, dog massages and one-on-one massages for autistic children. The team brought a massage table with them and had a sign-up sheet for anyone who wanted to get a quick massage during the competition.

One team showcased an app they developed called Tapduc. The idea of the app is to play music that matches your heart rate. This results from the app tracking your pulse and playing songs that match the speed of your heart rate as you get farther into your workout. 

“We had a lot of fun designing the app,” junior dietetics major Adrianna Gonnella said. “We have a really good group dynamic so that made it really fun.”

This app was created in one of the team’s entrepreneurship classes and was further developed after their professor told them they should continue on with the app.

“We added a programmer so now we actually have a closed alpha app,” Gonnella said. “That means that the app is able to be used but isn’t open to the public yet.”

Some of the team’s struggles consisted of trying to find said programmer and how to go about creating the app, along with failed test runs. However, like many teams in the competition, they’ve been able to overcome their obstacles to pursue their biggest and best ideas.

“It all worked out in the end. We have an app that we’re really proud of,” Gonnella said.

The final round is on April 24 in the Peplow Pavilion which will consist of the teams giving a ten minute presentation and answering any questions people have.

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