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Entrepreneurship Contest Rewards Best New Ideas

UMass Lowell Students to Pitch Innovations, Vie for $35K in Seed Money

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UMass Lowell students will vie for a portion of $35,000 to help their ideas for new ventures, products and technologies become reality during the 2016 DifferenceMaker $35,000 Idea Challenge, to be held at University Crossing on Wednesday, April 13 at 5:30 p.m.


Media contacts:  Nancy Cicco, 978-934-4944 or and Christine Gillette, 978-934-2209 or         

* M E D I A   A D V I S O R Y *

Wednesday, April 13

5:30 p.m.

WHAT:  UMass Lowell students who have developed solutions to business, technology and social problems will present their ideas before a panel of expert judges in the final round of the 2016 DifferenceMaker $35K Idea Challenge.

From a mobile app that helps people learn languages to a newly imagined waste-management system for Haiti, this year’s pitches will offer ideas for innovative technologies, human services, health-care products, exercise equipment and educational tools. The winners will share the $35,000 prize.

UMass Lowell alumni and city officials will serve as judges and are scheduled to include Richard Miner, ’86, ’89, 97, co-founder of Android and general partner at Google Ventures; Mark Saab ’81, ’13(H), chief technical officer at Vention Medical; Donald LaTorre ’59, ’07(H), president and CEO of L&G Management Consultants; Lorna Boucher ’86, head of product branding strategy at KCG Holdings Inc.; Joan Marchessault ’00, principal, Strategic Leadership Consulting Group; Jack Wilson, president emeritus of the UMass system and UMass Lowell distinguished professor of higher education, emerging technologies and innovation; and Lowell City Manager Kevin Murphy.

The contest is part of UMass Lowell’s DifferenceMaker Program, which teaches students the entrepreneurship skills they need to become innovators in their fields of interest and to solve problems in business and society. The yearlong program begins in September and matches participating students with faculty mentors.

DifferenceMaker success stories include Nonspec, a company launched by UMass Lowell students that makes affordable, scalable prosthetic limbs. The students behind the startup won the DifferenceMaker Idea Challenge in 2013 and have gone on to secure other capital to launch the venture, which is headquartered at UMass Lowell’s Innovation Hub (iHub) business incubator.

WHERE:  University Crossing, 220 Pawtucket St., Lowell. Contact UMass Lowell media relations for directions and parking information.