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The ZinnStarter program arrives at BYU

student innovator of the year

ZinnStarter to offer additional support to SIOY competitors

The Ira A Fulton College of Engineering and Technology at Brigham Young University, which annually hosts the Student Innovator of the Year competition (SIOY), is now participating in a national network of similar competitions along with West Virginia University, San Jose State University, Utah Valley University and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

The SIOY competition gives students $400 in funding to create a prototype and give their ideas a jumpstart. Venture Factory, a student-run organization dedicated to product development, hosts the SIOY competition annually along with the Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology and the Ira A Fulton College. The SIOY competition rewards students who come up with innovative new products and designs with cash prizes of $6,000 for first place, $3,000 for second and $2,000 for third.

In addition to the SIOY prize money, the ZinnStarter program will provide $10,000 to Venture Factory who will distribute the money to approximately 10 teams. This opportunity gives Venture Factory students valuable experience as venture capitalists, and gives SIOY students further help creating market plans and prototypes.

student innovator of the year

ZinnStarter is meant to complement the SIOY and Venture Factory programs by supporting the most promising projects after the March 2018 SIOY competition. In addition to financial assistance, and perhaps even more valuable, ZinnStarter recipients will each get a mentor to help them get their products ready for market.

“The Ira A. Fulton College is enthusiastic about utilizing the ZinnStarter program,” said Jim Trent, assistant dean. “This post-SIOY initiative should be a positive force in assisting entrepreneurial engineering and technology students reach the next level in moving their ideas forward.”

The ZinnStarter program’s founder, Ray Zinn, is the longest serving CEO in Silicon Valley, having founded and led Micrel Semiconductors for 37 years. Zinn’s humanistic leadership principles, keys to building enduring businesses and conservative management are expressed in his book, “Tough Things First.”