UNCG brings Shark Tank-esque competition to Greensboro
2 Minutes to Win It contest enters its fifth year
The North Carolina Entrepreneurship Center (NCEC) at UNCG has its own version of Shark Tank. 2 Minutes to Win It may not have Mark Cuban as a judge, but it does offer Greensboro-area college students the opportunity to expand on their entrepreneurial ideas and $2,000 in prizes.
After more than a month of preparation, 20 final contestants are gearing up to present their final two minute pitches to more than 30 judges. The big event takes place on March 31st at 1pm in the UNCG Alumni House. The competition requires no experience and has no strings attached. Judges know nothing about finalists other than their final pitch and no elaborate business plans are necessary – just a solid idea.
“Students can unleash their creativity and open their ideas to expert feedback, plus get a chance to walk away with cash and resources to turn it into a reality,” explains NCEC director Justin Streuli. “The ideas are what matter, not the student’s year in school, background, major, or any other information.”
Ike Quigley, a graduate student in computer science, placed in last fall’s contest with his “Super Smart Cart” concept. The proposed device combines elements of self-checkout in a grocery store with an actual shopping cart, streamlining the shopping experience by scanning, weighing, and bagging items as you shop.
Quigley was second only to Taylor Mabe, a PhD candidate and research assistant at the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering. Mabe’s concept, a drug delivery implant, replaces pill treatment for patients with mental disorders. “Currently when someone takes a pill in the morning, a few hours later the level of [medication] spikes and then quickly fades away,” says Mabe. His “Halo Drug Delivery” would alter the unequal drug distribution by slowly releasing medication over a specified time, ensuring the patient receives constant and appropriate doses.
Mabe’s victory in the contest is something he cherishes, as 2 Minutes to Win It put him in touch with journalists who publicized his achievements. He was then invited to give a TED Talk regarding his product, which ultimately led him to Dr. Peter Coleman. “[Dr. Coleman] invented something similar for alcoholics. He offered me a job.”
2 Minutes to Win It continually inspires, develops, and promotes impressive new ideas among area college students. This year’s contest, which is the first to take place in the Spring, continues that tradition. First place winner receives $1,000, a guaranteed spot in Greensboro Partnership’s downtown Triad Startup Lab, as well as business, legal, and marketing consultations. Second place, third place, and Best Pitch winners are also eligible for spots in the Startup Lab and receive $500, $250, and $250, respectively. With opportunities like these, the next big idea could be here before you know it!
Article author Kevin Flanagan is a Media and Communication Intern with the UNCG Office of Research and Economic Development. He explores and writes articles about the on and off campus impacts of UNCG research. Kevin is a senior at UNCG, majoring in Communication Studies and minoring in Media Studies. His interest in business, marketing, communication, and media led him to his current position.