Texas A&M University-Commerce Lions everywhere give a creative, innovative and groundbreaking roar! In order to recognize all of the talent exhibited by students, A&M -Commerce is hosting the third annual Lions Innovation Showcase in the Field House on Nov. 18 from 12:30 to 5 p.m.
Every day, A&M-Commerce faculty members strive to teach applicable skills and lessons to their students in the hope that one day students will be able to contribute in kind to society. Sadly, however, most students’ innovative work is never viewed outside the context of the classroom. This showcase creates a venue for students and faculty to interact with A&M-Commerce stakeholders by exhibiting and/or selling their work in an engaging way.
Participating in the showcase provides students with a real world experience to assist them in understanding the social value of their education. This opportunity may allow the chance for an engineering student to compile all of the knowledge she has acquired throughout her classes in order to focus it into one tangible product. Additionally, a future employer would have the opportunity to view this project and connect with this student individually.
Jaryn Wacker, a student who participated in the event last year, stated, “I sold handmade ear warmers and hats that I had knit myself throughout the year. My business was called Kneat Knits! I am a business major interested in entrepreneurship, so this sort of event was a great opportunity to experience what it is like to create a product, track costs, and calculate my profits! I also ended up making quite a bit of money, which was a bonus.”
Aside from the personal and profession gains offered from this event, students also have the chance to compete for a monetary award. Although participation in the competition is not required, judges will be awarding $6,000, dispersed into six award categories: General Product and Service Sales, Business Plans, Technology-related Creativity/Innovation, Culinary Creativity, Art Design/Creation, and Artistic Performance. Within each category, there will be a total of $1,000 awarded. First place will receive $500, second place will be awarded $300, and third place will be granted $200.
Last year, Carlos Rivers took first place in one of the six awarded categories. When asked for what advice he would give future participants, he said, “The judges are interested in seeing fresh and innovative ideas that are not yet in the marketplace. I would also warn them that the judges have tough questions, do your research beforehand and come prepared to defend your project. Preparation is key. While there were other great business ideas being displayed during the event, I believe I took first place because I had done my research beforehand. I had a business plan, a revenue model and supporting data/evidence on why this business idea would work.”
Although this year’s event takes place in the field house, the Lions Innovation Showcase has big dreams and plenty of room to grow. If this year’s event proves successful in terms of the quality of the projects as well as attendance for the event, the university will aim to hold the event in Klyde Warren Park at the end of the spring 2018 semester.
The deadline to sign up for the Lions Innovation Showcase is October 31. Before filling out the necessary registration form, be sure to read all competition criteria closely. To sign up for the Lions Innovation Showcase, visit http://www.tamuc.edu/LIS/default.aspx.