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Beakerhead Brings Virtual Reality into Your Home

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Yesterday marked the beginning of this year’s 5-day Beakerhead festival, and what a great start it was. As the spectacle pulls together and combines STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) topics, the city has the opportunity to take in over 60 wonders created and showcased. With over 130,000 people attending the event last year, 2017 holds high hopes.

Along with all the different installations and artwork present, attendees also have the opportunity to take part in a variety of workshops. Last night, Chic Geek partnered with Beakerhead to present the new and innovative direction that Virtual Reality (VR) is taking.

With keynote speakers including, Andrea Bastin (VP IT at ENMAX), Jermey Bibby (Principal Architect with Avanade), Surayatapa Roy (U of C Graduate Student), and Jenna Davis and David Brown (DIRTT Representatives), the event took the opportunity to explore all the different ways that VR has already been integrated into our everyday lives, and all the ways that it has yet the potential to be.

After hearing about the multitude of ways that companies are putting VR, Mixed Reality (MR) and Augmented Reality (AR) to use, and having the chance to test out the latest HoloLens and Oculus Rift, one can’t help but ask; where is this virtual experience taking us? Is VR the future of consumer technology? Will I one day be able to hone my inner Tony Stark and use VR in my own home?

The answers, much like with most other things relating to technological advancements, remain to yet be determined. With new designs and ideas coming to surface everyday, the hopes to have a VR device in every home seem not too far off. It isn’t just the every day gamer that has the potential to take in the wonders that VR can provide. With new developments coming out and the interest in VR continuing to grow, a future with devices in every household seems closer to us than we realize.

For more exciting workshops and exhibits to check out at Beakerhead, click here.

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Can You Become a Successful Student-preneur?

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Most of us have either seen or heard of popular TV series, Dragon’s Den, where hopeful entrepreneur’s stand before a panel of venture capitalists to pitch their ideas, in the hopes that they may secure financial investing for their startups.

While not all of us can be guaranteed a spot on the show, on a much smaller scale, venture capitalists, angel investors and others around the world look for opportunities to help entrepreneurs grow and develop their businesses.

More universities and colleges have incorporated entrepreneurial education into their curriculum to promote the undertaking of starting your own company. Mount Royal University’s (MRU) Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship recently had their annual JMH $70,000 LaunchPad Pitch Competition.

Founded to support those MRU students who are ambitious enough to pursue their own ventures, the initiative is funded largely by donations from JMH&CO. According to the website, over the past five years alone, there has been a total of $250,000 donated to support the program.

For this year’s competition, JMH&CO. put forth $40,000 along with $10,000 each from LaBarge Weinstein, Trout + Taylor and the Busy Foundation. Six students had the opportunity to win up to $70,000 for their endeavour should they impress the judging panel, which consisted people of note, including Alice Reimer, serial entrepreneur, Andrew Browne, co-founder and CEO of TikTiks, and Patrick Lor, serial entrepreneur and venture capitalist.

After hours preparing, each student went up and put forth their best pitch and showcase to sway the crowd. For a further look into the speakers and their companies, click on their profile links below:

Vigo

Lobo Development Ltd.

StudentSaver

Connor’s Carwash

S’WEARIT

The sixth, and final company, CommunityKit, did not provide us with any additional information, and therefore were unable to be featured.

MRU put on a great showcase of their students and what the Institute has to offer for future entrepreneurs. Yes, the odds are generally stacked against most startups, but with universities like MRU trying to create an environment for growth, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel.

Congrats to all the winners and we wish all the success to those brave enough to pursue their ambitions.

unsplash-logoJordan Encarnacao

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Successful Companies You Didn’t Know Started as College Startups

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As entrepreneurial culture continues to spread, it’s becoming more common for people to step away from the norm and pursue their ambitions on their own. Startups are the basis upon which successful companies erupt and every year there are hundreds of new ideas coming to fruition as hopefuls bring their creations to life.

While not all startups make it big, there are some that have revolutionized the way that we view the world. From Dell to Facebook, entrepreneurs that were brave enough to step away from the traditionalist approach to success, created companies that we now can’t imagine living without.

As universities and colleges around the world incorporate entrepreneurial learning into their curriculum, more and more students are coming up with new ways to make money. Here’s a look at five different successful companies that were originally just an idea thought up by a student.

HourlyNerd

Rebranded as Catalant, HourlyNerd was founded by Rob Biederman, Peter Maglathlin, Patrick Petitti and Joe Miller from Harvard University.

HourlyNerd works to provide small business owners who require help with short term projects, such as “mergers and acquisitions, strategies and marketing,” with skilled MBA students who are looking for part-time work. Since fruition, the company has gone on to do work with notable companies, including General Electric Company, American Apparel Inc. and Coca-Cola Company.

SnapChat

Created by Evan Spiegel and Robert Murphy from Stanford University, the SnapChat app was quick to permeate into millennial culture. If you’re not familiar with what SnapChat is due to an impressive amount of self-control, at it’s essence, it’s an app that allows you to send pictures and video messages to your friends, which once viewed, will disappear.

The amount of people that have probably regretted sending a picture to someone, knowing that it will stay with them forever, is perhaps what first drew users to the app. Much like the founders, the idea of choosing how long someone can see something for, is quite alluring and has obviously allowed the creation to blow up.

With new updates that allow you to decide whether or not you want to save a picture, or receiving notifications when someone takes a screenshot,allows users to feel more in control of what they are choosing to send out, and it’s not a surprise the app has done as well as it has.

ModCloth

Founded by high school sweethearts Susan Gregg Koger and Eric Koger from Carnegie Mellon, ModCloth was an idea breathed to life from a need to sell old clothes.

A fan of vintage clothes and thrift shopping, Susan needed to figure out what to do with all her articles of clothing that could no longer fit into her closet. Together with her boyfriend at the time, Susan was able to set up her online shop that has since blown up.

According to Mashable, “ModCloth is one of the fastest-growing fashion and home e-commerce ventures to emerge in the past decade. The company did more than $100 million in sales last year, and is growing at a rate of 40% annually.

Invite Media

From the University of Pennsylvania, Nat Turner is the creator of Invite Media which upon success, went on to be sold to Google.

According to the official website, Invite Media allows you to do the following:

  • Connect with your precise audience wherever they are
  • Gain full visibility into all costs and sites in your buys
  • Set global controls such as universal frequency capping for de-duplicated reach
  • Use real-time reporting to gain greater insights into your campaigns and customers
  • Streamline your workflow with a platform designed for speed and efficiency
  • Leverage the technology, expertise and resources of a proven partner

With the help of some seed money, Nat was able to create an ad tech company that caught the attention of the media giant, enough for Google to pay $81 million for it. Not bad for the ambitions of an initial undergrad student.

iCracked

With the surplus of Apple products throughout the globe comes the need to maintain them. Created by AJ Forsythe and Anthony Martin from the California Polytechnic State University, iCracked serves the consumer demand for service repair of their devices.

According to Fastweb, iCracked is “one of the largest iPhone, iPod and iPad repair companies with more than 687 certified iTechs in the United States… [It] is now known as the world’s largest on-demand repair and trade-in network for iOS devices.”

Catering to the needs of almost every household in North America, the founders were able to find one of the greatest gaps in the tech market and design the perfect solution.

As aspiring founders continue to come up with new and innovative ways they can change the marketplace, we get to witness the way consumer demand is revolutionized.

As Steve Jobs so aptly put it, “people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” So we can take a step back and appreciate what it takes to bring these creations to life; watch as society alters around those who are willing enough to do what it takes, to shape the world as we know it.

unsplash-logoJohn Schnobrich

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