BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The University of Florida will host the 2017 SEC Student Pitch Competition Nov. 12-13, the league office announced Thursday.
The SEC Student Pitch Competition gives undergraduate and graduate students from each SEC university a platform to present their innovative product ideas to a panel of judges comprised of established individuals in the business sector, including SEC alumni.
The panel will select three finalist teams that will then present their product to a separate set of judges, and awards will be given for first, second and third place finishes. Leaders of each SEC entrepreneurship or innovation center will also be on hand to support the student teams and to exchange best practices.
"Competition is one of the most dynamic forms of collaboration within the SEC, and that includes academic competition," said Torie Johnson, Executive Director of the SECU Academic Initiative. "Anytime we are able to bring our students and administrators together, particularly on one of our campuses, it is an opportunity for growth and an investment in the future that we are excited to support."
The concept for the competition was modeled after a similar event held during the 2015 SEC Symposium that focused on creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. Erik Sander, Executive Director of the Florida Engineering Experiment Station and Michael Durham Director of the Florida Engineering Innovation Institute, organized the first challenge, which was won by students from Texas A&M University, and he agreed to oversee the on-campus version.
"The SEC Student Pitch Competition will provide a snapshot of the products that the innovation programs within the universities of the SEC are developing," said Sander. "What will be very interesting to see is the diversity of ideas that the students will bring."
Examples of past innovations presented during the SEC competition include 3-D printed prosthetic devices (Texas A&M), vinyl wraps for snowboards (University of Tennessee) and liquid activated light infusers for drinks (Mississippi State University).
The SEC Student Pitch Competition is an addition to the existing menu of programs currently supported by the SEC under its SECU banner. SECU, the academic initiative of the SEC, serves as the primary mechanism through which the collaborative academic endeavors and achievements of SEC universities are supported and advanced.