Computer science student Ty Uehara took home the top prize of $2,000 at the 2019 University of Hawaiʻi Breakthrough Innovation Challenge for his helmet called ConTekt. The helmet allows riders who have fallen from an accident to be in immediate contact with 911 emergency services without having to move any part of their body.
The challenge, hosted by the Shidler College of Business’ Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship (PACE), was sponsored by one of the state’s largest CPA firms, Accuity LLP. The competition gives outstanding UH student entrepreneurs the opportunity to experience entrepreneurial ways of thinking and offer ideas for more efficient products and services.
Prior to the final event, UH students submitted a two-minute video detailing their breakthrough idea and its market potential where a preliminary judging panel then selected the finalists. PACE matched the finalists with mentors from the local business community to help the teams further identify commercial opportunities for the idea and develop a five-minute presentation.
“The success of this particular challenge, for PACE, has been engaging students from technical fields of study and introducing them to business and entrepreneurial concepts,” said Peter Rowan, executive director of PACE. “I am continually impressed by the creative and ambitious ideas of our students, and am excited to be able to help them in their entrepreneurial journey that’s just beginning.”
The three other finalists of the Breakthrough Innovation Challenge were:
- Auctor—software that helps to sort waste for recycling
- Hawaii Innovation Lab—a vest that keeps the body cool with liquid metal
- Hempire—eco-conscious clothing made from hemp