On November 18, it's time to start something.

Save the date for Ignite! 2015, EngenuitySC's annual celebration of economic competitiveness and prosperity in the Midlands. You don't want to miss this party at the USC Alumni Center with one of the most diverse crowds in the area, showcasing stories that will enlighten, motivate and inspire. The evening is capped off with the crowning of the Ideas Contest competition winner. And we've got a few surprises up our sleeve this year that will keep you guessing. Trust us: you don't want to miss this. 


Problem: Library catalog software predates the Internet. Thus, library records are effectively hiding in the dark web. This is the fundamental marketing problem facing libraries today: their materials are invisible to search engines, and therefore, the majority of their potential users. The result is millions of dollars unnecessarily spent on content that is available for free, and millions of lost opportunities for library circulation--a problem that disproportionately affects the poor and those with limited computer skills. Solution: KOIOS is developing a browser extension that searches the library for you, eliminating the need for a separate catalog search, instead letting you know when an item you're looking at on another site is available at your library. You never miss out on an opportunity to borrow rather than buy: library materials are finally visible in your search for content. We currently work on Amazon, but are expanding our product and our scope to search engines and paywalls. Winning the Ignite competition would further our cause both financially and in awareness. Social Impact: The Koios team has a vision: Free and democratic access to all human knowledge, which allows all to prosper from social and scientific progress, and accelerates discoveries and the development of new technologies. Why Us? Collectively, the management team has 12 years in internet startup experience and key advisors include the Director of a Library Science school and a Ph.D candidate in Library Science with recent industry experience.

Mr. Penguin Designs

Our company is called Mr. Penguin Designs and what we do is partner with local, student artists to create one of a kind, protective cell phone cases. Each piece is hand crafted by the artists with each design taking 4-6 hours to create. We like to look at our cases as canvases for the artists to showcase their talents. I literally make our products in my apartment here in Columbia and we sell them online through our website and through our three retail partners throughout South Carolina. Our mission is to help these students gain exposure for their work while also providing them with residual income throughout college. We just launched our royalty program where when a customer purchases one of our cases, the artist receives a 10% royalty for every one of their cases sold. The biggest issue we’re facing right now is marketing. In order for us to continue to grow we could utilize the seed money from this Ignite contest to implement our marketing campaign and have the working capital necessary in order to execute that plan. By collaborating with the USC student media organizations we can create a fully integrated campaign to reach our audience here on campus and in the midlands community.


With Vesta, couples are no longer limited to big box stores for their wedding registry! They can register at any local store for gifts they want with their mobile device. With Vesta, couples are gifted unique pieces to match their lifestyle and their loved ones can feel good about getting gifts that are meaningful and special. Not only that, those purchasing gifts are supporting local businesses and artisans. I created Vesta because I believe in the power of shopping small and supporting the art and artisan community. Also, from extensive interviews with newly engaged and married couples, the demand and validation for Vesta is there. They want other options than can openers and microwaves. There is an undercurrent of individuals who believe in shopping local and this taps into that momentum. Vesta will have alpha release by mid-November, and the $5,000 would allow us for a beta version soon thereafter. The dollars would also help for travel to the Southeastern Women in Computing Conference in which I will be speaking about Vesta. We hope you will join us in this slow gift movement. Wish locally. Gift locally. With Vesta!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015
USC Alumni Center