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Maryland universities reward student entrepreneurs

Rachael Fox, a junior, won McDaniel College's annual Student Innovation Challenge for her company aimed at improving boots for women to use outdoors. (Submitted photo)

Rachael Fox, a junior, won McDaniel College’s annual Student Innovation Challenge for her company aimed at improving boots for women to use outdoors. (Submitted photo)

Johns Hopkins University and McDaniel College have rewarded some students who also run their own businesses at campus pitch competitions this past week.

Monday night, McDaniel College awarded its $10,000 to junior Rachael Fox for her shoe company, Fox Boots. The company’s goal is to “build a women’s boot company that creates a reliable and comfortable product that assists any woman in her outdoor needs.”

Other companies participating in McDaniel’s Innovation Challenge included:

  • Abilitize, a company working to “empower businesses to engage people with disabilities;”
  • AWARE, a company focused on making renewable energy easy for consumers;
  • Liquid Lens, a company aimed at providing sustainable packaging for beverages; and
  • Money Mind, a financial literacy guide for young adults.

Abilitize won $3,000 as the second-place finisher and Money Mind won $2,000 for coming in third place and winning the audience prize.

At Johns Hopkins last Friday, VecTech,  a “surveillance system of cloud-connected smart mosquito traps that remotely and automatically identify field-collected mosquito specimens,” won the inaugural FastForward U pitch competition.

VecTech has previously won Johns Hopkins awards. The company, whose team includes Whiting School of Engineering graduate students Tristan Ford, Laura Scavo and Adam Goodwin, has won $5,000 for FastForward U’s Graduate Student Award. Chief scientist Soumyadipta Acharya, a Whiting professor, won a grant through the Cohen Translational Engineering Fund.

Two Johns Hopkins companies also won awards this month through the inaugural Bisciotti Foundation Prize for Student Entrepreneurship.

Kubanda Cryotherapy won $30,000 for its work on affordable cancer care for pets through a low-cost cryoablation device. Cryoablation is a process where extreme cold is used to destroy tissue.

AssistENT received $20,000 for the N-Stent, a nasal device to help improve nasal breathing for the 15% of Americans with chronically restricted nasal breathing.

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