UT Dallas Business Idea Competition Celebrates Innovation at Jindal School
The UT Dallas Business Idea Competition recently took place at the University of Texas at Dallas – Naveen Jindal School of Management, celebrating the best student business concepts among students.
This year’s competition awarded first place to Benjamin Rubanov and Samir Rahi, both freshman at the college. The team won $15,000 for their business concept, Skin Aware, a company which aims to develop a safer and more effective allergy skin test. Rubinov developed the idea after watching his younger brother go into anaphylactic shock while undergoing the exam.
Based on patent-pending technology developed by Dr. Walter Voit from the Alan G. MacDiarmid NanoTech Institute at UT Dallas, Skin Aware uses much smaller doses of allergens than other allergy tests on the market. By lowering the dosage amount to nanoliter—rather than milliliter—size doses, the risk of serious side effects like anaphylaxis is significantly reduced.
Rubanov and Rahi took first place among six teams competing in this year’s competition, organized by the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IIE). This was the competition’s tenth year and included three UT Dallas alumni among the judges—Axxess president and CEO, John Olajide BS’04, owner and operator of Peticola’s Brewing Compan, Michael Peticolas BA’95, and co-founder and COO of Freshbenies, Heidi Rasmussen. Judges focused on the viability of each idea, and whether the business concepts clearly met a market opportunity or need, among other criteria.
Graduate students at the Jindal School took both second and third prizes, awarded $5,000 and $2,500 respectively for their ideas: Unibees, an app for finding free food at campus events, and Geekstyr, a dating/community app catering to the ‘geek’ community.