MBA students Bill Attar, Pat Gosselin, Marie Hollinger and our first-ever MBA/MD student Delip Patel joined forces with a team of student engineers to take 3rd place in the University of Texas’ 2006 Idea to Product or “I2P” International Competition in November.

In work overseen and organized by the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship (CNVE), the MBAs fleshed out business applications and commercialization potential for F.I.R.E., “First Incident Response Equipment,” which uses radio frequency and sensors to communicate with first responders in an emergency situation. R.J. Hegedus, Andrew Arnold, Michael Edgar and Michael Water, all engineering technology majors in Texas A&M’s Dwight Look College of Engineering, developed the technology during a senior capstone course.

The Texas A&M team finished behind student teams from Imperial College London and Dublin, Ireland’s Trinity College. Over the course of the next two months, the engineering students and MBAs will develop a full business plan complete with financial projections to submit to this spring’s biggest new venture challenges: the Big XII New Venture Competition and Rice Business Plan Competition.

“If you build it, customers don’t necessarily come,” said CNVE Director Richard Scruggs ’77. “The combination of a good product and sound business plan brings success. In this collaboration, we want everyone to learn from each other so that everyone has ownership in the product and the process.”

This is the second year win for a CNVE-coached project: Biomedical engineering PhD student Saurabh Biswas won $10,000 to help further the commercialization of a colon cancer early-warning technology when he took 1st place in the Idea to Product challenge in 2005. Biswas went on to win the first-ever BigXII New Venture title and placed fifth in the Rice Competition in early 2006.