Holloway Competition
February 26 - May 9, 2017

NH DreamTech, comprised of alumni Cassidy Croci, Brianna LeClerc, William Taveras, and Allison Wood, presented H2Air as part of the high technology track of the Holloway Competition.

Student creativity and enterprise take the stage at 28th annual Holloway Prize: Innovation to Market Competition

The twenty-eighth running of the Paul J. Holloway Prize Innovation to Market Competition celebrated innovation, creativity and enterprise as hallmarks of the entrepreneurial   spirit at Paul College and the University of New Hampshire.

Wowing a nearly packed auditorium of faculty, distinguished judges, venture capitalists and their classmates, six undergraduate student teams delivered professional quality business proposals for developing and marketing a stunning range of products and services.

These ranged from a ceiling fan outfitted with Bluetooth music and aroma therapy, to snowboards manufactured from western beetle kill wood and the prototype for a camp light powered exclusively by gravity.

Mike Merenda, professor of strategic management and entrepreneurship and Holloway faculty director, spoke for everyone in attendance when he told the students, “You should be immensely proud of what you’ve accomplished over the last several months. Once again, the Holloway Competition has proven to be a unique entrepreneurial journey that gives you a platform for integrating what you’ve learned into a real world experience you will draw upon for years to come.”

Since its inception in 1988, the Holloway competition has engaged 1,500 students in the excitement of thinking and acting like entrepreneurs, awarded more than a million dollars in prize money and in-kind professional services, and spawned dozens of successful start-ups, notably Joseph’s Gourmet Pasta and Sauces, Nobl Coffee, ConvenientMD, Itaconix, Noggin Factory, Trash to Treasure and the Sensible Spreader.

This year’s road to the championship round was crowded. Round one featured 60 teams vying for 20 cherished spots in the Bud Albin Challenge round. Teams competed in four tracks: high growth potential products and services, high technology, sustainability focus, and hospitality innovation.

Many of the finalists involved multi-disciplinary partnerships among Paul College students and classmates from the university’s College of Engineering and Physical Sciences. For example, the winning team, NH DreamTech, exemplified these partnerships with H2Air, an in-line diffused aeration system that removed carcinogenic compounds from drinking water.

“I can’t tell you the hours they put in putting it together,” said Paul College co-mentor Jeffrey Sohl. “This was a superstar team whose members clicked right away. Sure they had some challenges during the initial creative stages, but once they nailed down the concept, they knocked it out of the park!”

Engineering senior Will Taveras said that, while the prizemoney and pro-bono help from web developer PixelMedia are “exciting, nothing beat putting ourselves out there in front of seasoned pros. My advice to future students is to check your reservations at the door and take advantage of all the opportunities to be innovative at UNH.”

Second place went to Paul College first-year students Kate Aiken of Manchester, N.H., and Devin McMahan from East Hampstead, N.H. They introduced the LilyPad, which integrates an innovative, raised absorbent strip on a standard sanitary napkin (mentor, Associate Dean Neil Niman).

BeetleBoards, the brainchild of seniors Lyndsay Levin of Kingston, Mass., and Erica Warish of Raynham, Mass., (mentor, Professor Andrew Earle) placed third for its creative use of otherwise-condemned materials in the construction of custom-made snowboards.

- Dave Moore