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Businesses Started by Past Winners

Fowler Business Concept Challenge winners who have gone on to start businesses based on their winning business concepts include:

2017 Social Venture Division Winner, Seraph 7 Studios, Jules Porter

Seraph 7 Studios is an African-American owned and directed video game company. It gives diverse communities a seat at the table by telling fresh stories with an unrivaled authenticity, and investing in the next generation of diverse gamers to empower them to tell their stories in an interactive medium. Through work study programs and summer camps, it aims to increase the graduation rates and reduce the achievement gaps of students of color. This develops and uplifts local students, while increasing the cultural competency and nuanced multicultural understanding of players.

"Teaching diverse students coding language and video game development provides them with the keys to take back their narrative and soar in a future increasingly dominated by technology." - Jules Porter

2017 Business Division Winner, Safe in Sound, Savannah Hufendick

Safe in Sound revolutionizes the approach to hearing-loss protection in the earbud market. The device and paired software application are designed to measure the volume of sound from an earbud and automatically set volume at appropriate levels according to the data collected. The earbuds provide effective standardized hearing loss protection from variations in sound levels from devices, applications and user volume settings.

“The effects from having your headphones too loud is a growing problem today and I want to solve it.” - Savannah Hufendick

2017 Social Venture Division Participant, Dream Refugee, Mohamed Malim

Dream Refugee is a 501c(3) non-profit whose mission is to address our society's most relevant and troubling themes of racism, xenophobia and apathy by connecting refugees with their communities through the power of storytelling. This simple idea shows that enduring personal connections and awareness of culture and similarities are basic human needs that endear empathetic growth where it may not have been possible before.

2016 Winner, ExpressionMed, Meghan Sharkus 

ExpressionMed’s concept is dedicated to improving the education, design appeal and safety of insulin kits for children with diabetes. To fight the stigma associated with insulin pumps, ExpressionMed aims to improve the daily care experience of children with Type 1 diabetes by introducing a two-part design system that expands the surface area of the device’s adhesive, making it less likely to fall off when they are away from a parent; adds an element of design, allowing them to choose what their devices look like and display their unique interests; and uses complementary images to make explaining the device’s function a fun story that is easy to understand and remember.

2014 Winner, Unique Pontoons, Jeremy Little

Unique Pontoons is the most innovative pontoon manufacturer in the world. Unique Pontoons has changed the way pontoons are viewed by introducing a new expandable pontoon with a built-in trailer to replace the conventional pontoons on the market today.

2011 Winner, COGNIFIC, Solome Tibebu

Cognific empowers patients by offering structured health homework in an accessible, enjoyable way that fits the 21st century. Cognific helps providers improve mental health outcomes in patients, manage costs and increase clinical throughput.

Tibebu won the Minnesota Cup Student Division. Her company, Cognific, was awarded $10,000 in seed capital. Cognific has also received funding from the Norris Institute.

2010 Winner, PROTÉGÉ BIOMEDICAL, Mike and Susie Wuollett

2010 graduate division winners and co-founders of Protégé Biomedical, husband-and-wife team Mike and Susie Wuollett (both 2010 MBA graduates) developed ClotIt™ Blood Coagulant Products to rapidly stop bleeding in minor cuts and other wounds. Protégé Biomedical has received funding from the Norris Institute and has started clinical trials. Read more about the Wuolletts in the Opus Magnum blog.

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