VCU team wins $20k in international innovation challenge

A VCU team beat students from Ivy League institutions to win the 9th Annual Innovation Challenge. Tackling cloud-computing issue for small businesses, the team’s ingenuity has earned them a trip to the NYSE along with a $20k prize

A team of VCU students have won the 9th Annual Innovation Challenge, a competition among graduate students from universities all over the world to find solutions to pressing business and social innovation challenges. They competed against teams from graduate schools such as Harvard, Dartmouth, and UC Berkeley in the final round of AT&T division competition.

Students at the VCU Brandcenter, one of the top advertising programs in the country, developed a successful cloud-based platform solution for small businesses. “After interviewing a handful of small business owners, we quickly learned that many didn’t understand the full value that cloud services could provide,” said the VCU team spokesperson Jennifer Clinehens in a press release, a creative brand management student at VCU Brandcenter.

The VCU team came up with a tool that small business owners could use to simplify cloud and mobile applications to increase productivity and efficiency, all the while providing these small businesses with the “analytical firepower” typically harnessed by larger companies, all for a fraction of the typical costs.

The VCU team, which consists of an art director, copywriter, creative technologist, and creative brand manager, will share in a $20,000 grand prize. They will also ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange later this afternoon.

“We’re always looking for opportunities to encourage new, innovative technology solutions and thrive on the creativity provided by graduate students,” said Sam Zellner, AT&T’s Executive Director of Innovation. “The VCU team’s innovative approach to simplifying adoption of cloud computing for small businesses has a lot of potential and we’re thrilled to have been a collaborator in their winning submission.”

photo by Gamma Man

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