On a recent trip to visit extended family, Cjala Surratt ’22, founder of the Black Citizens Brigade, was presented with a gift—her late grandmother’s boiler room jacket. Surratt’s grandmother had been a ship-fitter in Norfolk, Virginia, and the clothing item…
Engineering and Computer Science Students Win Panasci Business Plan Competition with Wearable Inhaler
College of Engineering and Computer Science students Kayla Simon ’19 and Elizabeth Tarangelo ’19 took first place and a $20,000 prize in the 2018 Panasci Business Plan Competition with their In-Spire wearable asthma inhaler. The competition is hosted by the Martin J. Whitman School of Management.
“We’re honored that the judges saw the potential for In-Spire and our business plan,” says Tarangelo. “We have a lot of work ahead of us, but this prize money will go a long way towards moving us forward.”
In-Spire is a bracelet that holds up to 10 doses of asthma medication. Tarangelo, a bioengineering major, has exercise-induced asthma and saw the need for a portable inhaler after realizing she did not always have one nearby when she needed it. She teamed up with Simon, an aerospace engineering major, during the 2017 Invent@SU invention accelerator program in New York City and their invention took first place. Invent@SU gave them experience pitching In-Spire to guest evaluators and judges, but Simon and Tarangelo had to learn to structure and format a business plan to compete with students who had more experience creating growth-oriented business models.
“As engineers we have all the technical details, but to write the business plan we had to do a lot of research,” says Simon. “You also need to be able to show it can succeed financially.”
“Blackstone LaunchPad has been instrumental in moving us forward, they have experience in the startup world and can connect us with business, marketing and legal help from all across the SU campus,” says Tarangelo.