UW-Green Bay’s Cheri Branham takes third in Wisconsin Big Idea Tournament

UW-Green Bay student Cheri Branham (Social Work) took third place in the Wisconsin Big Idea Tournament, presented by WiSys, on May 20.

The tournament brings together teams of university students from across the state to pitch innovative business ideas.

Branham’s idea “Technology Literacy Training for Older Adults,” aimed at pairing tech-savvy young adults with older adults inexperienced with technology, won a $750 prize. See more about her motivation for the idea in this feature.

Cheri Branham, Wisconsin Big Idea Tournament
Cheri Branham

Missy Hughes, secretary and CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), was a featured guest speaker at the event. Hughes also served as a judge, along with the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation’s Greg Keenan and the Center for Technology Commercialization’s Idella Yamben.

“Innovation is part of Wisconsin’s DNA and one of the keys to our state’s future growth,” said Hughes. “All of the entries were amazing, and it’s exciting to see the enthusiasm for innovation and entrepreneurship that all of the finalists demonstrated. I want to congratulate the winners and thank everyone for participating.”

UW-Parkside student Gabrielle Richardson’s idea for a health care app to improve patient communication and treatment took first place and a $2,500 prize.

UW-Whitewater’s Jason Tamras and George Soucek took second place and a $1,500 prize in the tournament by presenting “Battery Savior,” a more convenient portable phone charger.

In the leadup to the event, participating teams received mentoring from business leaders including Georgia-Pacific’s Darin Driessen, Titletown Tech’s Aaron Kennedy, Kentucky Commercialization Ventures’ Monique Quarterman, the Small Business Development Center’s Colleen Merrill and Resourceability’s Kelly Berry.

The Wisconsin Big Idea Tournament was sponsored by UW System and WEDC.

The virtual event was part of the 2021 WiSys SPARK Symposium Virtual Series—which honors faculty, staff and student research, innovation and entrepreneurship in the UW System. For more information about the symposium’s events, visit wisys.org/spark.

WiSys is a nonprofit organization that works with faculty, staff, students, and alumni of the UW System to facilitate cutting-edge research programs, develop and commercialize discoveries and foster a spirit of innovative and entrepreneurial thinking across the state.

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