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Blackstone LaunchPad Ideas Competition at UTMB: Winning Ideas Announced

Oct 19, 2023, 15:06 PM by Melanie Connolly

The Blackstone LaunchPad Ideas Competition at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) has successfully concluded its 2023 edition, and the results are in! This competition was designed to encourage students to develop early-stage entrepreneurial ideas and provided them with an opportunity to compete for cash prizes and gain access to valuable resources and support to nurture their entrepreneurial skills. 

This year, students from UTMB embraced the challenge, showcasing their creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurial spirit. Participants selected one of four tracks: Social and Climate Impact, Health & Life Science, Consumer Products & Services, or General, depending on the nature of their business idea. 

In the Health & Life Science category, three ideas emerged as winners: 

  • Third place, with a prize of $250, went to Sheri Brackman for "Affordable Clinics." Sheri's idea focused on making healthcare more accessible and affordable. 

  • Second place, earning a prize of $500, was awarded to Salman Farooqui for "PrescripSync," an innovative health and life science solution. 

  • First place in the Health & Life Science category, securing a substantial prize of $1,000, was claimed by Holly Chapman for her idea "MI SUD." MI SUD impressed the judges with its potential impact in the field of health and life sciences. 

In the Consumer Products & Services category, Naiju Thomas emerged victorious with $1,000 for his idea "Connectyfi."

The Social and Climate Impact category featured another standout idea. Jacqueline Silva's "CORRE" took the top spot and $1,000, showing the importance of ideas that aim to make a positive impact on the world. 

These winners not only earned cash prizes but will also advance to the national Network Round where they will compete for an additional $10,000 to further develop their ideas. This is a testament to the commitment of Blackstone LaunchPad to supporting innovative ideas and fostering entrepreneurship. 

The Blackstone LaunchPad Ideas Competition is not just about winning prizes; it's a platform for students to develop vital entrepreneurial skills such as a growth mindset, creativity, critical thinking, and leadership. It also aims to expand accessibility and diversity by encouraging underrepresented and under-resourced students to participate. 

The competition was powered by the StartupTree platform, with students pitching their ideas to a judging team at a live event. Before the event, participants were required to attend a pitch-building seminar, ensuring that they were well-prepared to present their ideas effectively. 

As the competition concluded, the finalists in each track now advance to the National Round. This is where they will compete for $10,000 in additional prize money and work towards further developing their innovative ideas. 

The Blackstone LaunchPad Ideas Competition at UTMB serves as a springboard for these student entrepreneurs, giving them the tools, resources, and recognition needed to turn their ideas into real-world solutions. As these ideas continue to evolve, they have the potential to make a significant mark on their respective industries, demonstrating the power of innovation and entrepreneurship in addressing critical issues in our world. 

Congratulations, awardees!