The Foisie School of Business hosted the inaugural Hitchcock Innovation Prize this spring. The Prize, founded by Jeremy Hitchcock ’04 and Elizabeth Cash Hitchcock ’02, provides a $20,000 stipend to support further business concept development of a new product, service or technology, or new technology-based businesses or social ventures, created by WPI students possessing the entrepreneurial mindset to produce tomorrow's leading technology innovations. These aspiring student entrepreneurs then have the opportunity to bring their ideas and/or products to the next level. WPI students were notified through several channels and invited to submit materials to the Collaborative for Entrepreneurship & Innovation for consideration to be awarded the title “Hitchcock Fellow” and the cash prize.
Fourteen teams comprised of thirty-one diverse students participated this year. Seven judges with strong ties to the entrepreneurship and innovation culture at WPI reviewed application materials. Judges included Jeremy Hitchcock, Elizabeth Cash Hitchcock, Gina Betti, Jennifer deWinter, Michael Aspinwall, Michael Gennert and myself. Applications were evaluated based on eight criteria: the problem statement, customer definition, product definition, impact on society, plans to sustain revenue for operations, the innovation itself, the team makeup and progress the team has made together.
Weighing these criteria, the judges agreed to award this year’s Hitchcock Innovation Prize to AMProtection, submitted by Todd Alexander and Lindsay Lozeau. AMProtection provides an antimicrobial coating for urinary catheters that will prevent infection without promoting antimicrobial resistance. The team has conducted over 130 customer interviews to ensure product-market fit and has indeed found interest in the product through preliminary discussions with potential customers at Boston Scientific, Bard, and Teleflex. Concerted efforts by Todd and Lindsay in securing mentoring and participation in entrepreneurship programs, such as the NSF IGERT program, has provided them with the background and experience they needed to present a competitive pitch and proposal.
The Hitchcock Innovation Prize will be an awarded annually. If you are aware of students who would be interested in applying for the Hitchcock Innovation Prize next year, please make them aware of this opportunity. The Foisie School of Business provides mentors and resources to help prepare students for such competitions. We are here to help all students across campus.