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Engineering major takes first place at the Big Idea competition

Bradley student Samantha Denver poses with the check awarded to her for winning to 2023 Big Idea Competition. Photo via Bradley University/Instagram

On April 24, students from all disciplines gathered in the Hayden-Clark Alumni Center for finalists of the Big Idea competition to showcase their entrepreneurial concepts.

The winner of this competition received $8,000 to further develop their ideas and make ripples in the entrepreneurship community. The presenting groups covered the need for their product, its development, as well as projected sales and outlooks for the future.

Each team had ten minutes to present to a panel of judges and answered questions before the judges went to deliberate the winners in what they described as an “extremely close” competition.

Senior mechanical engineering major Samantha Denver won first place as the creator of Handy Balms. She conceived the product while involved in an engineering internship.

Denver noticed that her hands were dry and cracked from her work, but couldn’t use traditional lotion in her workplace because the residual grease would cause fires. She began developing a hand balm that is easy to apply to specific areas and leaves no residue.

In addition, Handy Balm products are made from all-natural ingredients and come in completely biodegradable packaging, a growing need in today’s world.

Denver detailed the sales that she already made to the audience and judges as well as  outlined her growth plan and mentioned that her end goal was to grow the venture enough to sell the business.

When questioned about her end goal by the judges, she simply said “I’m a serial entrepreneur. I always have new ideas.”

Denver wants to continue to create new products and follow the entrepreneur path, growing new businesses and from diverse sets of ideas.

Notable finalists in the competition include fourth-place winner RPS Spraying, a development to save farmers’ product and manpower by spraying  their fields with drones instead of helicopters.

Taking third was Tapduc’s team, who presented an app that would measure your heart rate to find songs on Spotify that match the momentum of a workout. The team behind Shothawk LLC won second place, proposing an active shooting prevention system using a sliding camera on rails to provide protection and bridge the gap of time it takes law enforcement officials to reach the site.

The annual Big Idea competition creates a platform for entrepreneurs like Denver where the sky’s the limit, giving an opportunity to creatively and ambitiously design something new with the chance to win big.

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