Venture College and College of Science and Engineering Host Inaugural Lion’s Innovation Showcase and Automation Challenge

The Venture College, the hub for entrepreneurship, startups and innovation in the Texas A&M University-Commerce College of Business, partnered with the College of Science and Engineering to host the inaugural Lion's Innovation Showcase and Automation Challenge at the Rayburn Student Center on April 19, 2024.

The Lion's Innovation Showcase features student businesses and nonprofits from A&M-Commerce alongside dedicated high school students from the DFW and Northeast Texas regions. This year, the addition of the Automation Challenge, aimed to inspire problem-solving, innovation and entrepreneurship in the fields of science, engineering, agriculture and technology through automation. The Automation Challenge was supported by a sponsorship from All Metals Fabricating in Allen, Texas.

Twenty students from A&M-Commerce and several high schools competed in the pitch competition, vying for up to $8,000 in cash prizes across business, nonprofit and automation challenge categories. The pitches were evaluated by nine industry professionals from academia, entrepreneurship, engineering, finance and management and were presented to over 125 attendees. Representatives from Lewisville Independent School District attended the event, highlighting the community’s support for student innovation, entrepreneurship and engagement.

Jacob Pouttu, Venture College's program coordinator, expressed his enthusiasm, saying, “Every year, Venture College makes a point of showcasing the amazing work our fellows have been doing, and this year, it was better than ever. We had so many pitches that wowed our judges and the audience, including a high school student who coded her own app, a nonprofit that provides sober living in Hunt County, an automated plant watering system, an esports company and so much more. I cannot get over how good these students are.”

Jacob also praised the partnership with the College of Science and Engineering as it underscores the university's commitment to providing platforms for student growth and fostering innovation across disciplines.

Guest judge Dawn Spalding, VP of development at the North Dallas Chamber of Commerce, expressed her admiration, stating, “As a judge for the Venture College Lion's Innovation Showcase, I was thoroughly impressed by the innovative ideas and entrepreneurial spirit displayed by the student businesses and nonprofits. It's inspiring to see young minds pushing the boundaries of innovation and creating impactful solutions for our community.”