University of Idaho Team wins at the Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge with Virtual BLOCK festTM
The U of I is proud to offer students the opportunity to take creative projects all the way from an initial idea to a finished product—and then get their work into production and use. Students on the Virtual BLOCK Fest™ team made a big step forward by winning first place in the Social or Cultural Impact Category at the 2018 Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge business plan competition, taking home a $12,000 prize.
Virtual BLOCK Fest™ is a combination of two apps, “Build with Buddy” and “Buddy’s World,” created by CAA design students. They are digital companions to BLOCK Fest®, a Twiga Foundation program based on early childhood research by the U of I College of Education. The research shows that playing with blocks helps young children build math and critical thinking skills needed for STEM subjects. Virtual BLOCK Fest™ uses mobile technology to make blockplay portable, so children can play and develop their skills wherever they are.
Virtual BLOCK Fest™ is in its third year of development and is an outcome for the Virtual Technology and Design capstone design studio course. CAA students joined forces with Master of Accountancy student Brittany Davis to create a competitive business plan for the apps. The team will use a portion of their winnings to complete and publish “Build with Buddy” and “Buddy’s World” in conjunction with the Twiga Foundation.
The next stops for the team are the Idaho Pitch (April 27) and Business Plan Competition (April 28) at U of I. The Idaho Pitch and Business Plan competitions are part of U of I’s Innovation Month, a monthlong interdisciplinary celebration of the scholarly and creative accomplishments of students and employees.
Congratulations to the Virtual BLOCK Fest™ Team:
- Nathan Buchheit, Andrea Graf, Dusan Jevtic, Virtual Technology and Design Senior Capstone students.
- Serendel MacPhereson, Master of Integrated Architecture and Design student.
- Brittnay Davis, Master of Accountancy student.
- Patricia Kempthorne
- Katie Bauer