SOM Students Win Entrepreneurial Business Plan Competition
Yale SOM students won both the social enterprise and for-profit categories of the Y50k business plan competition, while another placed third in the for-profit category. Students from across the University competed in the Y50k, which is held each year by the Yale Entrepreneurial Society. Winning teams received a $12,000 prize.
Anup Patel MD/MBA ’09, Robert Stavert MD/MBA ’09, and Ankur Agrawal ’09 were part of the group that won the social enterprise category for a company that will build a communications center in Nepal to allow health workers assigned to rural villages to keep in contact with a home base where doctors can assist with diagnosis, advice, and training. The company, CHWired, will create a Wi-Fi network and provide PDAs that will link distant workers with clinics and doctors. Patel, who started a nonprofit called Cents of Relief that helps former child prostitutes in Nepal, said he plans to go to the country this summer to put the plan into action. “The prize money will go a long way to off-setting the cost of getting the network set up,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting to win. I just thought the contest would be a great way to get my thoughts together and structure a business proposal.”
Yulee Newsome ’09 won in the for-profit category for jetEye, a system that reduces maintenance costs and increases the lifespan of jet engines. Newsome, who served in the Navy and then taught ROTC courses at MIT before coming to SOM, put the business plan together for the product, which was invented by two colleagues from MIT, and is essentially software that monitors the vibration of each turbine or compressor blade and determines the condition of the turbine blades. The process is supposed to make for easier diagnosis and repair of problems in the engines, which should make monitoring and repairing the engines less expensive. Newsome, who is interning this summer at Dow Chemical, has handled the business and finance aspect of jetEye. He said while he may work in a corporate job for a while, his goal has always been to be an entrepreneur. “Since I’ve been at SOM I’ve learned that you can be entrepreneurial in large organizations,” he said. “But I like the idea of being my own boss and taking on the risks and responsibilities and rewards associated with that.”
Another SOM student, Leslee Parker ’09, placed third in the for-profit category for a company called Osmotic Application Systems (OASYS), Inc., which has developed a desalination technology to address the growing global need for potable water. The system, which received a patent, offers companies and municipalities a novel treatment technology that can produce clean, drinkable water at significantly lower environmental and financial costs than existing industry alternatives.