Emerge@Simpson in conjunction with LaunchPad65 co-hosted an innovation and technology showcase at Hubbell Hall on Tuesday, Feb. 26.
The showcase highlighted local technologies and faculty-led STEM projects both at Simpson and in the Indianola business community. Several innovators presented in front of a crowd of faculty, students and community members.
Todd Kielkopf, Emerge coordinator and an adjunct faculty member, helped get the event off the ground along with help from students in the senior management capstone class. He said it highlighted the Emerge program and showed its capabilities.
“Our primary goal is to provide experiential opportunities for faculty, staff, students, parents...anyone within the Simpson community to help it become an economically viable experience,” he said of Emerge.
The showcase included presentations from outside entities Cemen Tech, IdRamp Network Security Integration and CTE Hope Team. Five faculty and student-led ventures also presented, including The Palmer Project, DNP123 Nano, Carver Bridge Program, Maple Tree Marketplace and ExpressSeed/Nanobio Design.
Derek Lyons, an associate professor of chemistry and physics, is one of the key innovators behind ExpressSeed/Nanobio Design. The venture is developing a genetic testing solution that can be operated by non-scientists in the field to determine a percentage of GMO contamination in seeds.
He says Emerge has helped the project evolve from “playing around and researching” into a viable business model.
“Nobody would have heard of this without Emerge,” Lyons said. “I feel much better being able to try to change the world with this instead of just entertaining ourselves.”
Kielkopf noted that entrepreneurialism is growing across the nation and will continue to be vital to the economy. LaunchPad65 is designed to assist local entrepreneurs to move forward with their business ideas.
“If you look around the college landscape, entrepreneurialism and the entrepreneurial approach to innovation is becoming a hot topic of conversation,” he said. “It’s not just teaching a way to be self-sufficient, it’s also the way the economy is growing. More people are getting second jobs and it’s going to be a way of work that is significant for the next generation.”