Miller School announces program targeting Health Sciences, other colleges

Pujan Patel, participating in round one of the Pirate Entrepreneurship Challenge, explains his company to one of the challenge’s judges.

The College of Business and the Miller School of Entrepreneurship have launched a program that has a goal of encouraging students to participate in the upcoming 2019-2020 Pirate Entrepreneurship Challenge (PEC).

The signature pitch competition of the Miller School, the PEC is a three-round challenge that starts with an October, open-to-all, trade show style set up where anyone can vote. Round two happens in November and has round one winners pitching to ECU officials and local entrepreneurs. Winners from round two are then paired with mentors who work with them to finalize their product presentation for the final round, which happens the following February.

Last year, the PEC awarded almost $80k in cash prizes and in-kind services. It’s open to any ECU student team or faculty/staff, whose team includes at least one ECU student.

Ideation Champion Program

The Ideation Champion Program (ICP) is an ECU faculty summer pay opportunity that is designed to have faculty help recruit students – and other faculty – to participate in the ICP.

ECU student Hunter Graves responds to a question from the judges during the second round of the Pirate Entrepreneurship Challenge at the East Carolina Heart Institute on Thursday night. (Photography by Rhett Butler)

An ideation champion will be expected to:

  • Host a competition event where students present their ideas in fall 2019 before the first round of the PEC.
  • Recruit at least 10 student participants for the competition.
  • Coordinate social media and news stories about their collegewide
  • Participate in a review committee for selection of teams who will move straight to PEC-Round Two.
  • Encourage students who do not advance to enter the Pirate Entrepreneurship.

Champions will be paid $1,000. Selected individuals must be current employees at the time of payment. Opportunity is limited to one champion per college.

“For the last PEC, we had more than 100 students participate in round one,” said David Mayo, MSOE faculty and PEC organizer. “They represented 40 departments from 10 colleges. That’s a good showing, but we’d like to expand our presence in other colleges to encourage participation.”

Specifically, Mayo and the Miller School is hoping that some of the new participation will come from ECU’s Division of Health Sciences.

“I’ve seen contests award more than $100,000 in prize money, in one year and from one competition, for ideas that addressed laparoscopy improvement, wearable fetal monitors and the prevention of catheter-related infections,” said Mayo. “We think the PEC is a wonderful opportunity to highlight all the innovation and collaboration that’s happening at ECU.”

Mayo added, “It (PEC) provides a platform where students can present their ideas, as well as an opportunity for those ideas to become products that could positively affect people’s lives.”

For more information about the Ideation Champion Program, please visit the Miller School website. Or, please email Mayo at with any questions.

Last year’s Pirate Entrepreneurship Challenge started off with more than 100 teams in October. Seven teams competed in the final round.

Pin It on Pinterest