Submitted by John Conrad, Director, Innovation and Business Engagement
BBA student Chad Izatt’s team was selected as the first-place team of the Grand Finale at the European Innovation Academy (EIA) Global 2021 Grand Pitch event, held online on July 23rd. The three-week Innovation Academy started with 57 teams (300 students) from all around the world who worked hard to go from an idea to an actual start-up in only 15 days.
Chad was selected by SLC’s Innovation and Business Engagement department and the BBA program for the full scholarship to participate in this event. In Chad’s words: "The EIA program was a great experience, and I’m extremely thankful to Dr. Rajni Dogra and Dr. John Conrad and the entire Innovation and Business Engagement department for allowing me to be a part of it."
"From day one you’re thrown into the deep end. Participants with business ideas share them, and we have to try to build an effective, complimentary team in a few days. From there it’s pedal to the metal: problem assessment, customer identification, product development, market analysis—it’s a short time frame with a lot of work to get done," said Chad. "My team was split between Portugal and Canada, and we put in a lot of hours to make sure we were ahead of the curve, rather than behind it. Having the ability to draw from so many diverse life experiences, we learned to problem solve in unique ways, and consider company growth from a global perspective, rather than local. The training and mentors the program offered were highly knowledgeable and very supportive, but above and beyond everything else, it was the opportunity to work with people from around the world I would never have otherwise met that was most valuable to me."
The top three teams have the opportunity to continue the development of their start-up and will be supported by a start-up accelerator company and the EIA network.
The European Innovation Academy has become a recognized leader in tech entrepreneurship education. According to their website: "Our non-profit, educational programs are developed through joint partnerships with professionals from the world’s top institutions; to include Stanford University, U.C. Berkeley, and Google. EIA is an intense three-week innovation learning opportunity with hundreds of students from the world's top universities coming together in an international working environment."
Watch the Grand Finale pre-recorded pitches on Facebook EIA Global 2021 Grand Pitch.