Two groups of students from Japanese universities visited STC in February as participants in its Internship Academy. The students spent a week receiving entrepreneurial training and pitch coaching from STC staff that culminated in pitch competitions where the students presented their ideas and technologies before Rainforest judges.
Professor Kunio Kono from Mukogawa Women’s University (MWU) brought eight undergraduate junior student athletes from the School of Health and Sports Science.
The students learned about the technology transfer and commercialization program at STC, attended UNM business and Innovation Academy classes and Rainforest events, and toured UNM technology centers and local entrepreneurial events.
From OPU, Misae Otoyama won first place for his “Solid Power System,” a new battery system for delivery-drone technologies. The new battery last longer and is cheaper to manufacture than currently available technology. Tomoyuki Miyata won second place for “APEV,” a 3-D printing technology for building automobile exteriors.
From MWU, Yuka Imaoka won first place for her startup idea, “PHP Corporation,” a company for making a heat-stroke prevention ring. Minami Honda won second place for her startup, “CheerLife Corporation,” a company for making smart bottles with nutritional straws. Risa Noritake won third place for her startup, “Wakey Corporation,” a company for making smart eye masks that enable the wearer to wake up refreshed and relaxed.
Judges for the end-of-week pitch events were STC CEO Lisa Kuuttila, STC Economic Development Director Cara Michaliszyn, UNM SBI Director & University Center Mentor Stacy Sacco, Innovation Academy faculty member Bill Szaroletta, and former UNM President & HSC faculty member Robert Frank.
The OPU winners will present their pitches to the OPU President, members of the press, and members of the Japanese Ministry of Education in Osaka on March 1. The MWU winners and other presenters will receive credit from MWU for their participation in STC’s Internship Academy, which is part of a for-credit entrepreneurship class at MWU.
“Since 2015, STC has trained over 100 students and professionals from Japanese universities and technology-transfer offices in best practices for commercializing university technologies and developing entrepreneurial skills to create new companies,” said STC CEO Lisa Kuuttila. “This continues to be a great program for sharing our expertise in developing innovation ecosystems with international students and colleagues.”