FINAL EVENT: FEBRUARY 17, 2016
Successfully transforming a new idea for a mobile app into a working prototype doesn’t require moving to Silicon Valley. It does demand, however, collaboration and teamwork between the idea creators and local software-coding experts to ensure the app performs as intended and serves a useful purpose.
Creating a showcase of new, innovative and disruptive ideas was the central purpose of the Schurz Innovation Challenge held at Innovation Park at Notre Dame on February 17th. Schurz Communications Inc. sponsored the competition, organized by the Park and included mentoring support provided by Park client The South Bend Code School, whose mission is to eliminate the barrier between people and technology. The competition provided participants the opportunity to test their creativity and skills in developing innovative ideas in media technology.
Twenty teams participated in the competition, and each team was required to have at least one Notre Dame student. The teams worked closely with the South Bend Code School to refine their ideas and produce working prototypes, which were presented at the final event to a judging panel consisting of entrepreneurs and media professionals. The first place team, Covur, won the top prize of $5,000 for its unique platform that helps local businesses market directly to their audiences by automating email list growth using WiFi. Placing second and receiving $3,500 was Commentate, a team that has created a service that allows sports fans customize the sportscaster they listen to during live events. Third place was awarded to Let It Out! with a mental wellness app that allows individuals to record and regulate their day-to-day emotions. Two prizes were also given for best coding. Winners included Jamocracy ($2,500 prize), which enables users to add songs to Spotify playlists via text message, and SquadSnap ($1,500 prize), which brings ephemeral pictures and videos to group communications.
“We were very pleased with the students’ creativity,” said Scott Schurz, Schurz Communications Vice President of Human Resources and Corporate Development. “The support teams received from Innovation Park at Notre Dame and The South Bend Code School brought those ideas to life. The product of that teamwork made choosing the overall winner a difficult decision.”
South Bend Code School Co-Founder, Alex Sejdinaj, noted that collaborating with the student teams brought energy and fun into the task. “The quality of the student ideas was clear from the start. Our job was to channel their passion to focus on coding the essential elements the app must perform to meet their expectations.”
About Schurz Communications Inc.
Schurz Communications, Inc. is a Mishawaka, Indiana based news and information company, which consists of six business segments: Broadcasting Radio, Broadcasting TV, Cable TV, Newspaper Publishing and Digital Media. The company publishes daily and weekly newspapers in medium and small markets. It also has ten television stations, owns thirteen radio stations and operates three others, owns four cable companies, and a phone directory. Geographically, Schurz Communications has a presence in Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Virginia and Wyoming.
About The South Bend Code School
Headquartered at Innovation Park at Notre Dame, The South Bend Code School aims to make South Bend a city that codes. Our mission has been focused around teaching people from all walks of life that code is a tool used to build your imagination. In our program, we give people real world experience building portfolio viable applications and equip them with the web development skills needed to obtain jobs at technology focused companies. Learn more at http://southbendcodeschool.com.
About Innovation Park at Notre Dame
Innovation Park at Notre Dame exists to cultivate marketable innovations in an inspiring environment, with access to Notre Dame cutting-edge research, world-class faculty and students, and an extensive network of regional and Notre Dame affiliated industry experts and entrepreneurial veterans. In simple terms Innovation Park connects aspiring entrepreneurs with Notre Dame faculty, students and other resources, supports them to collaborate with market experts and helps them commercialize their new ventures successfully.