College of Business > News & Events > Students Create and Innovate at Expo
By Andrew Zamorski | Photos by Kathy Hillegonds /
March 7, 2018 /
Posted in: Students /
Kellstadt MBA student Daniel McGrath, pictured with his family, was one of eight students named winners at the eighth annual Student Innovation Expo held at the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center.
Kellstadt MBA student Daniel McGrath was named a Student Innovation Expo winner for his idea Xanadu, an application-based tool designed to aide home share hosts like Airbnb in the setup and management of their listings.
Nine students presented new business ideas during the eighth annual Student Innovation Expo. The students were recognized for their creativity, originality and problem-solving abilities.
Savy Leiser, a student at DePaul's College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, received the People's Choice Award for her business idea The Furever Home Friends.
Student Innovation Expo student winners — representing several DePaul colleges and both undergraduate and graduate levels —wait to present their business ideas in front of an audience at the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center.
More than 100 people attended the eighth annual Student Innovation Expo toward the end of February at the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center. The expo recognized students' creativity, originality and problem-solving abilities.
Keynote speaker and Chicago Innovation Award winner Rhon Daguro advised students to find that “sweet spot” between their own capabilities and what the world needs. Daguro is founder of Nervana, a digital design and interactive technology.
The eighth annual Student
Innovation Expo held in DePaul University’s Coleman Entrepreneurship Center at
the end of February recognized students’ creativity, originality and
problem-solving abilities. Student competitors submitted ideas for
inventions or product and service improvements that create customer/user
value. Nine winners were selected this year among student
participants representing several DePaul colleges and both undergraduate and
graduate levels. All winners received a scholarship.
“The process of coming up with
an idea and shaping it—so that you can communicate the idea, its value, what
problem it solves, and how it is different from existing ideas—is a significant
experience for students,” says Lisa Gundry, professor of management and entrepreneurship,
who organized the competition. “These skills will help them in their
careers as they sharpen their problem solving and get better at recognizing a
Student winners came from
the Driehaus College of Business, Kellstadt Graduate School of Business,
College of Science and Health, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Computing
and Digital Media and the School of Music.
“This marks the greatest
diversity across programs and fields, which is in line with our intention to
recognize innovations and the emergence of ideas across disciplines in the
university,” says Gundry.
a Kellstadt MBA student, was one of the winners. His
idea, Xanadu, is an application-based tool designed to aide home
share hosts like Airbnb in the setup and management of their
listings. McGrath, who began hosting through Airbnb in 2014, found it
difficult to manage his listing while working and going to school. His
app pairs hosts with local service providers and professionals to
help manage check-ins, key exchanges, turnovers and other services for
home share hosts.
“I entered the expo because I
wanted to test my innovation against a panel of judges and my peers to see
how it would be received,” says McGrath. “The questions that were asked
during my pitch and feedback the attendees provided is extremely valuable as I
continue to develop this application and grow as an entrepreneur.”
McGrath also learned
that you don’t have to be the first to the market for
an innovation to be successful and that ideas are not conceived in a
vacuum. Xanadu builds upon the features of existing tools, and the expo
was an opportunity for McGrath to showcase his version of a
tool that he believes will be valuable to home share hosts.
In addition to student presentations,
the expo also featured a keynote talk from Chicago Innovation Award
winner Rhon Daguro, the founder of Nervana, a digital
design and interactive technology. He advised students to believe in
themselves, surround themselves with team members who believe in what they
are doing, and to find that “sweet spot” between their own capabilities
and what the world needs.
“Some of the students are
intending to create new businesses or research ways to bring their products to
market,” Gundry says. “It’s likely we will see some of these solutions