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Citadel News Service
6 Jul 2017

Student teams showcase entrepreneurial prowess at NGAL pitch competition

Potential products from international group of students include safety monitoring device

group-ngal2017NGAL students and faculty at the pitch competition June 23, 2017 in Wells Fargo Lecture Hall

A group of international students and recent graduates will be a lot more savvy about how to develop and pitch a business plan as they move forward along their career paths. Students from The Citadel, the College of Charleston and Nebraska Wesleyan University joined students and faculty from two Estonian institutions, the University of Tartu and Tallinn University of Technology, for the 2017 Network Globally, Act Locally (NGAL) program.

NGAL is a shared, educational program that charges select students from participating institutions with developing innovative products or services that provide solutions to some of the world’s commercial and social challenges. The international entrepreneurial program began in 2015 through the generous support of the Harry & Reba Huge Foundation.

Participating teams are selected by their institutions based on their business ideas. Once in the program, they spend two weeks in Estonia at the University of Tartu’s IdeaLab fine-tuning their business plans based on social entrepreneurship best practices. In the lab, faculty members provide instruction and local business professionals with successful startup companies assist as mentors. This summer, after gaining insight on how to pitch their inventions, the students traveled to The Citadel to present their business plans to a panel of judges during the event that capped the entire experience.

ngal-2wayTop photo: Citadel electrical engineering 2017 graduates Olga Gorkvenko and Colin Jones Bottom photo: Citadel MBA students James Kazda and Ryan Burton

Citadel students take on NGAL
Citadel Graduate College MBA students Ryan Burton and James Kazda pitched MyGameOn, a proposed service that enables users to locate sports events showing at local bars and restaurants. The other Citadel team, Colin Jones and Olga Gorkvenko, who graduated with electrical engineering degrees in May, presented Forget-Me-Not. Their invention is a safety-monitoring device used to prevent vehicular heatstroke in children and pets left in cars on hot days.

“We thoroughly enjoyed the program and were pleased to be one of the first teams from The Citadel to participate in NGAL,” said Jones. “We are two technically-minded engineers who needed to learn more about business. We now understand how to create a business plan and how to get buy-in for that plan, particularly with a start-up company.”

Forget-Me-Not proved to be one of the timelier products of the June 23 competition. While the students were in Estonia preparing for pitch presentations, Congress introduced the Hot Cars Act of 2017. The legislation aims to mandate monitoring technology in all new cars to prevent adults from leaving children in vehicles.


The 2017 NGAL winners are:

  • First place: Cody
    Cody is a personal coding platform that teaches coding through interactive exercises - Kaspar Kuus and Reino Zappur, University of Tartu
  • Second place: The Coulomb Sailing Group (CoSaG)
    CoSaG is a novel propulsion system and de-orbiting service for commercial space travel through the solar system– Trinn Teppo and Iaroslav Iakubivsklyi, Tallinn University of Technology
  • Third place: Aude Opus
    Aude Opus is a power storage solution for small renewable energy plants – Timmu Tollimagi and Rihhard Rosin, Tallinn University of Technology

Additionally, each Citadel team earned $500 to move their companies forward. Participants described the program as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

“I’ve had a tremendous time. This opportunity has allowed us to meet interesting people with great backgrounds from all different facets of the startup life cycle,” said Kazda. “The various investors, founders and co-founders have been great and very helpful with all of their information. You can’t pay for that kind of knowledge.”

About The Tommy and Victoria Baker School of Business
Accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the mission of the Tommy and Victoria Baker School of Business is to educate and develop principled leaders to serve a global community through its undergraduate and graduate programs. The school offers coursework for students in the fields of accounting, entrepreneurship, finance, general business, professional selling, and supply chain and logistics management. The Baker School of Business is committed to integrity, fairness, concern for others, and the continuous pursuit and spreading of knowledge to promote enlightened changes in society. As one of The Citadel’s five schools, the Baker School of Business is part of a teaching institution with a long tradition of high-quality education and leadership development.

Achieving excellence in the education and development of principled leaders
Media Contact:
Kim Keelor-Parker
(843) 953-2155
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