Blazer Innovation Challenge logoFive finalists have been chosen out of more than a dozen applicants to move on to the final round of the Blazer Innovation Challenge, a competition that identifies the best student-crafted ideas that solve a wide variety of problems.

The Blazer Innovation Challenge — presented by the UAB Collat School of Business, UAB Innovation Lab (iLab), and IBERIABANK — provides students the opportunity to test out their entrepreneurial ideas in a “Shark Tank”-style competition and win prize money to help launch their ideas.

For the initial application, students were required to submit a one-minute video that detailed their idea, the problem it solves, and why it’s relevant. Five finalists were chosen to move to the next round, in which they will receive coaching and workshop training to refine their pitches.

Students can win up to $5,000 in seed money to get their ideas off the ground, in addition to valuable mentorship and coaching and other resources in the UAB iLab throughout the 2017-18 academic year.

The final videos will be shown during a live session with the judges on November 16 at 2 p.m. in the UAB Innovation Lab at Innovation Depot. Students and the public are encouraged to attend the judging session, during which finalists will engage in a Q&A with the judges. An awards ceremony and reception will immediately follow in the Innovation Depot Atrium at 4 p.m.

Meet the Final Five


Heath Jackson, an industrial distribution and marketing double major, would like to create a microbrewery incubator, “The Brewing Collective,” that reduces start-up costs and other barriers to entry for microbreweries while providing a food hall-type experience for consumers.

Briannah Smith, a graphic design major and entrepreneurship minor, would like to create a digital game that connects modified “Ecosystems” recycling bins with an “Ecology” mobile app to incentivize recycling.

Haifa AlHarrasi, a human resource management major and entrepreneurship minor, would like to create “Pocket Mechanic,” a mobile app that allows car owners to connect with professional mechanics and automotive experts to diagnose problems and estimate repair costs.

Owen Stallworth, a psychology and philosophy double major, would like to create a business model that provides a one-stop shop for licensed mental health professionals to work in a private practice setting.

Venu Kunche, a computer science major and entrepreneurship minor, would like to create Moringa-based nutrition products for the malnourished and health conscious individuals.