A mobile application designed to assist people working through depression and anxiety was chosen as the winner of the “What’s Your Big Idea?” competition conducted by The Ron Rubin School for the Entrepreneur Sunday, May 6.
“What’s Your Big Idea?” is an elevator competition in which students make a three-minute business pitch before two judges. Open to all students, eight competitors were selected from the 20 who submitted their initial ideas. This is the 10th year for the competition.
Scarlett Liu ’20 (Beijing, China) made her pitch for The Semicolon Society,” a mobile application that people could tap into when they need assistance. Liu said approximately 25 percent of the U.S. population is battling some form of anxiety or depression. She added that 70 percent of those people are unable to access live assistance when needed.
The Semicolon Society would ask a quick set of questions and then provide helpful tips or actions to the person to help alleviate any symptoms. Examples would be soothing music, watching a video, or deep-breathing exercises, Liu said.
The semicolon is a symbol for depression, anxiety, and suicide prevention. It represents a sentence that could have ended, but the author chose to continue. Liu said the smartphone application would “be there for every user.”
Judges Jennifer Luttrell ’80, a realtor and medical business analyst, and Katey Wehmeyer, the owner of a local bed and breakfast, selected The Semicolon Society as the top choice. Liu received a $1,000 Amazon gift card for taking the honor.
Ryker Knight ’18 (Coronado, Colorado) took second place with his idea to make filling out college applications easier. This computer application would remember basic information that is required for college applications and financial documents. Knight said many colleges do not accept the common application but still require the same information. This College Application app would fill those slots with one click. He received a $500 Amazon gift card.
Third place went to Tom Ni ’19 (Shanghai, China) for Eco-Credit. This computer/smartphone application would monitor home appliances and provide instant feedback on electrical use. That will allow the homeowner/renter to adjust their usage to save energy. They would then receive “credits” that could be used for certain goods or services. Ni’s idea resulted in a $100 Amazon gift card award.
The five other competitors were:
- Nathan Barrett ’19 (South Bend, Indiana) for Org-X, a calendar application that would populate and update a person’s calendar with practice and game times for different sports teams and organizations.
- Perry Harig ’21 (Deerfield, Illinois) with Volunteer Tracker, an application that would allow non-profits and their volunteers to keep an accurate log of the hours actually being registered.
- Madeline Petrucelli ’20 (Plymouth, Indiana) with ECO, a yard ornament the approximate size of a sunflower that would collect wind and solar energy to help power the home.
- Jenny Song ’21 (Shanghai, China) and LiberNotes, a textbook rental business that would reward people based on the quality of notes and comments they made in the book’s margins.
- Sobe Uwajeh ’18 (Matteson, Illinois) with JEWLZ, a line of jewelry that a person would fill with their favorite perfume so the fragrance could slowly be released throughout the day.