Kent State’s Blackstone LaunchPad hosts Innov8athon


Rachael Le Goubin

Students Andrew Konya, Alisha Konya and David Steinberg came to the Innov8athon with different business ideas in mind but they were hoping to come up with the winning proposal sometime in the 24 hour event. They were also excited to help other attendees with their business plans. Photo by Rachael Le Goubin.

Dominique Todd

Over the course of 24 hours, students of various majors worked together to brainstorm, conduct research and build business plans at Blackstone LaunchPad’s Innov8athon.

The event, a partnership between LaunchPad, University Libraries and hacKSU, took place April 5 and 6 in the main library.

Kate Harmon, program manager for LaunchPad, said the event was a combination of popular innovation programs, such as hack-a-thons and start-up weekends.

“Start-up weekends are programs where entrepreneurs go for a weekend to develop ideas, and similar events with technology are hack-a-thons,” Harmon said. “In both cases individuals are creating something in a short duration.”

James Bracken, dean of University Libraries, said he was very excited to have students who wouldn’t usually come in to the library working in it.

Bracken said Innov8athon gave the library the opportunity to complement students in building their business ideas.

“We have given the students types of resources they don’t think they need and gave them a place to come together,” Bracken said.

Zachary Mikrut, marketing and events manager for LaunchPad, said the goal of Innov8athon and the LaunchPad program is to be open to and bring together students of all majors.

“We want to get all these different students, have them collaborating together and use all their different skill sets to build businesses,” Mikrut said. “We thought the Innov8athon is an interesting fit to get these students to collaborate now.”

Daniel Gur, senior computer science major, and David Steinberg, senior electronic media major, were awarded first prize of $1,000 for their business concept UniForm.

UniForm is a mobile application that acts as an automated process for filling out medical forms.

“Generally, you’re sick and not feeling great and don’t have the energy or desire to fill out paperwork when you go to the doctor’s office,” Steinberg said. “From the perspective of the hospital, it will eliminate the potential of mismatching records or having to deal with actual paper.”

Gur and Steinberg said the Innov8athon was a new learning experience and something they would get involved with again.

“Usually we do hack-a-thons where we do just programming and we don’t have to construct any business plans or strategy,” Gur said. “It was nice seeing it from the different perspective.”

The second place prize of $300 was awarded to Emily Thomas, senior fashion design major; and Dmitry Kantarocivh, junior managerial marketing major, for their T-shirt company concept Creashirts.

Kantarocivh said Innov8athon was his first time participating in a business planning competition and taught him valuable information on being an entrepreneur.

“To hear people speak about what it takes to run a business, to get it going was good advice and interesting,” he said. “I really can say even if your idea doesn’t work the first time, you have to reformulate, take the criticism and move forward from there.”

Thomas said she has always wanted to have her own business and competing in the event helped her build more faith in herself as an entrepreneur.

“Planning out my idea has helped me become more enthused about it all,” Thomas said. “I’m less insecure about myself or the potential I have, and I trust myself more on making the right decisions.”

Dominique Todd is the Library and Info reporter for the Daily Kent Stater.

Contact Dominique Todd at [email protected].