On Thursday, Northeastern’s Entre­pre­neurs Club hosted the Spring 2012 Husky Startup Chal­lenge Demo Day, at which 18 stu­dent entre­pre­neurs pitched their inno­v­a­tive ideas, gar­nered sup­port from the com­mu­nity and cel­e­brated the entre­pre­neurial spirit flour­ishing on campus.

The Husky Startup Chal­lenge is a semester-​​long com­pe­ti­tion that helps stu­dents for­mu­late a struc­ture and busi­ness plan to turn ideas into suc­cessful com­pa­nies. The pro­gram includes a series of work­shops, boot­camps and net­working events. The chal­lenge cul­mi­nates in Demo Day, as stu­dents present their busi­ness ideas to the North­eastern com­mu­nity and a panel of judges.

After sur­veying the stu­dents’ ven­tures, Pres­i­dent Joseph E. Aoun said he was impressed with their cre­ative thinking and noted that North­eastern pro­vides an envi­ron­ment that encour­ages stu­dents to become entre­pre­neurs and inno­va­tors early on. “We want our stu­dents to be inno­va­tors, risk takers and con­quer the world,” he said.

The event marked the fourth Husky Startup Chal­lenge, and fea­tured ven­tures in a variety of indus­tries, including high tech, clean energy, con­sumer prod­ucts and cloud com­puting. The stu­dent entre­pre­neurs also rep­re­sented a range of majors across the university’s col­leges, from behav­ioral neu­ro­science to mechan­ical engi­neering and inter­na­tional affairs.

Cory Bolotsky, director of the student-​​run Husky Startup Chal­lenge remarked how quickly the ven­tures at Demo Day had advanced in the short time frame of the com­pe­ti­tion. “Knowing that in the begin­ning of the semester, every com­pany here started as a simple idea, and that they have now grown into active ven­tures with working pro­to­types and, in some cases, cus­tomers, is very inspiring.”

The win­ning ven­ture at the Spring 2012 Demo Day was Lens Caddy, the brain­child of Pre­ston Turk, who received a $2,000 prize. The freshman, who has a pas­sion for pho­tog­raphy, cre­ated a unique, con­ve­nient way for pho­tog­ra­phers to carry and pro­tect mul­tiple camera lenses and easily switch between them. He’d pre­vi­ously received funding through Northeastern’s Pro­to­type Fund, admin­is­tered jointly by the Center for Research Inno­va­tionIDEA: Northeastern’s Ven­ture Accel­er­ator and the Entre­pre­neurs Club, to create a pro­to­type of his product.

Second place went to Scoop, There It Is — a hip-​​hop inspired ice cream truck. Third place went to Hard­Boil, a startup that helps other com­pa­nies develop and test enter­prise applications.

The audi­ence favorite was Sweet Therapy, a bakery that aims to cure crav­ings and pro­vide emo­tional reme­dies by deliv­ering cup­cakes directly to stu­dents in their dorms or apartments.

Hana Nobel, a senior inter­na­tional affairs and anthro­pology com­bined major and co-​​producer of Scoop, There It Is, said she learned some­thing new every week during her expe­ri­ence in the Husky Startup Chal­lenge. “Anthro­pology classes don’t really teach you how to make money, so I had to learn all about sales, social media and marketing.”

More than 300 people attended Demo Day to show sup­port for the stu­dent ventures.

The pro­gram as a whole is making a tan­gible impact in devel­oping and sup­porting entrepreneurial-​​minded stu­dents in all dis­ci­plines and col­leges,” Bolotsky said.