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SIUE Finalist in Scripps International Innovators Cup

March 30, 2016

SIUE is among eight schools competing in the second annual Scripps International Innovators Cup. A team of five students from SIUE’s media management course met the challenge of using their entrepreneurial skills to develop an innovative idea that solves a media-related issue.

The SIUE team designed Fresh Start, a location-based app that will serve food deserts by delivering information about available vegan and vegetarian eating and shopping options.

Food deserts, as defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, are parts of the country that lack grocery stores, farmers’ markets and healthy food providers.

“The project offered great hands-on experience and an opportunity to learn more about business models, and how to work as a group in a business atmosphere,” said Brent Lallish, a senior mass communications student. “Our app, Fresh Start, is aimed toward the millennial population of which 12 percent of people are vegetarian.”

Fresh Start will compete against projects from eight other universities, including Ohio University, Texas Tech University, Xavier University in Louisiana, University of Nevada, University of Florida, University of Oregon and Valley City State University.

“Several campuses across the country have media management courses, or even programs, but very few have oriented themselves to media entrepreneurship,” said Mark Poepsel, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Mass Communications. “This is an area where SIUE can specialize and excel in competition with much larger schools. We can take advantage of our size, agility and willingness to redesign coursework and involve students in creative processes at the undergraduate level.

“In the field of mass communications, as information technologies are changing rapidly, we need to build for entrepreneurialism,” Poepsel added. “This experience will prepare these students to create new things for existing companies, for startups or for themselves.”

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