Winners of first eHIVE innovation challenge announced

Melinda Walls, W. Robert Stover Chair for Entrepreneurial Leadership and director of the eHive, did not expect the turnout that the first “Something From Nothing” challenge received.

“I am thrilled with both the participation, and the quality, of the ideas that were shown,” Walls said. “I had no expectation that we would have as many students participate, or that they would have so many creative and thoughtful ideas; I was really impressed with that.”

Before announcing the winning teams, Walls mentioned that 37 teams signed up, 20 teams presented, and over 160 people showed up to vote for the contest. This was far beyond the expectations of many including Chyanne Vanzant, junior international business major and student assistant in the eHive.

“I think it was amazing. When we were planning it and having focus groups, we were really scared that it wouldn’t be big or that students really wouldn’t want to participate,” Vanzant said. “We were anticipating having ten teams.”

A wide variety of duct tape-based products were unveiled last Friday, but according to Vanzant, they all had a common theme.

“Something about this project that is very underlying is how it really showed off how we embody service here. Everybody had something that was helping people. So, I loved it so much and how it shows our heart through being creative and through the work,” Vanzant said.

One project, in particular, took home first place and $100 to each team member. The team of Kara Compton, junior criminal justice major; Annalise Cardish, junior nursing major and Liz Diviney, residence director of Ray and Burns hall, won with an innovative way to raise money for a recent tragedy.

“We made stickers out of the duct tape,” Diviney said. “It has the Pittsburgh skyline on it because we are raising money for the Tree of Life synagogue and the wounded officers from the shooting last Saturday. We were able to raise $88 so far.”

Making the stickers was no easy task, but they were in high demand and the proceeds benefit a good cause.

“We put in a lot of effort,” Diviney said. “We made like 45 stickers Wednesday and our intention was to sell them [Thursday] and [Friday], and we ended up selling almost all of them [Thursday] so we had to make more last night.”

Walls hopes that this event will become an annual competition, with a different challenge item each year. As for this year, Walls saw the potential for many of the products to continue to grow and encourages students to schedule an appointment with the eHive to develop new ideas, as well as to grow already developed ideas.

“Today we saw the beginning of a lot of wonderful ideas that both could be commercialized and also social entrepreneurship ideas,” Walls said. “I really hope that we don’t stop just at the idea phase and that is what the eHive is here to help students do. To really move from the idea stage into a full implementation where we can really solve some of the problems that we are seeing in society today.”