August 31, 2011
Two Minnesota State Colleges and Universities students win 2011 Minnesota Cup competition in student divisionTwo Minnesota State Colleges and Universities have won the student division of the Minnesota Cup, which is awarded to aspiring entrepreneurs and inventors in the state for breakthrough ideas.
Matt Hudson and Eric Schaupp, who are students in Minnesota State University, Mankato's Iron Range engineering program at Mesabi Range Community and Technical College in Virginia, will receive $10,000 in seed capital for engineering a lightweight, portable power generator that can run on various fuels, such as kerosene, ethanol or gas.
The generator produces enough power to charge anything from a cell phone to providing power for a building. “We’ve taken two technologies that are undeveloped and combined them in a way that no one has done before,” said Hudson.
"Both of us are interested in clean tech and clean energy and wanted to develop a generator that can efficiently produce electricity," said Schaupp. With commercial development of the technology, the generator initially would be targeted for use by the residential energy market, though it has potential for use in Third World countries as well, he said. An estimated 1.6 billion people on the planet have no ready access to electricity.
“This award recognizes the kind of creativity and innovation that our faculty instill in our students to solve real-world problems,” said Chancellor Steven Rosenstone. “The Iron Range engineering program, which relies on project-based learning, is a national model.”
John Stavig, director of the University of Minnesota’s Gary S. Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship, which organizes the competition, said, “The judges viewed the generator as the biggest idea – the most innovative idea – the one with the largest market potential in the student division. Twenty-nine teams competed in the student division.
“It was great to see student entrepreneurs take an innovative approach by applying existing technologies to address important problems in power generation,” Stavig said. “They're passionate about the potential, and we're optimistic that with the right approach and partners, their idea can make a difference.”
Hudson, a senior who earned two associate degrees from Century College before entering Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Iron Range Engineering, is from Shoreview, said he and Schaupp are now looking for companies that build generators to buy or lease their technology. Schaupp, a senior from Andover, completed two years at Anoka-Ramsey Community College before transferring to the Iron Range program.
The Iron Range engineering program is hosted by Mesabi Range Community and Technical College in Virginia and offered through Minnesota State University, Mankato. Students who have successfully completed two years of engineering studies can enroll in the Iron Range engineering program for their third and fourth years and earn a bachelor’s degree in engineering.
As winners of the Student Division, Hudson and Schaupp will compete for the Minnesota Cup Grand Prize. The overall winner receives $25,000 in seed capital and business services.
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Minnesota's 31 state community and technical colleges, and universities serve more than 420,000 students across the state.