100-hour challenge winners blend creativity, utility

November 21, 2017 By David Tenenbaum

Press the button in an emergency, and your friends – and the police – are notified of your location and need for help. Simple. Smart. Safe! Photo by Nicole Rosenbaum

On Nov. 20, social entrepreneur and UW–Madison faculty associate Lesley Sager chose the winners in the latest 100-hour challenge from among 13 student groups. The competition was sponsored by the Entrepreneurial Residential Learning Community on campus.

The challenge was to build useful or creative products based on objects donated by the University’s recycling system, called SWAP, and to do the whole shebang in 100 hours, said competition coordinator Sari Judge.

“It’s fantastic to have an innovation competition on campus that’s small enough to manage, yet large enough to matter,” said John Surdyk, faculty director of the Entrepreneurial Residential Learning Community. Each individual or team won a $400 prize.

On Nov. 9, students picked through tables full of this ‘n that, and began cooking up ideas with social or economic value, or simple creativity.

And the winners are…

Most Potential Revenue Value:  Safe Bracelet, Nicole Rosenbaum

Contest judge Lesley Sager: “Impressed by the creativity and polish of the finished prototype. I felt not only that the product could be extremely popular on campuses, but could be a hit among other target markets, as well.  Wearables are a big business and this capitalizes on that.”

Most Potential Social Value:  Portable Refugee Tent, Mahima Chawla

Sager: “Product has extremely important social implications as it provides an efficient and affordable way to give access to shelter to some of our most vulnerable populations, displaced refugees and the homeless.”

Inventive refugee tent design purifies water and air, and houses a radio for communication. Mahima Chawla

Most Creative: The Hot Seat, Oluwabusola Ruth Ola Osundairo, Adjua Nsoroma

Sager: “This concept was just plain clever and seemed a very new and fresh solution to significant social problem.”