Winter Wins Boyd Venture Challenge
By Kathy Williams
“Amazing” was how first-year graduate student Lia Winter felt when she won the Boyd Venture Challenge last fall. Winter, who’s pursuing a dual MBA and master’s in biomedical engineering, was awarded $12,500 in seed money for her EasyWhip business.
EasyWhip is a surgical tool Winter created to improve the current graft preparation station and whip stitching needle that are used during certain orthopedic reconstruction procedures such as ACL surgery.
Winter used the knowledge she gained during a summer internship at an orthopedics medical device company and background in biomedical engineering to develop the tool.
When she started graduate school at UT, she decided she wanted to get involved in entrepreneurship and innovation. She first pitched her EasyWhip idea at VolCourt, a competition where she had to present her business idea to a panel of successful business owners, and she won first place. She was awarded $1,500 which she used to start her business and file a provisional patent application to protect her idea.
“The mentors from the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation encouraged me to compete in the Boyd Venture Challenge—the bigger pitch competition for student-owned businesses,” Winter said.
She spent two weeks preparing for the Challenge and was ecstatic when she won. The seed money will help Winter fully patent EasyWhip and optimize the design. She hopes to one day license EasyWhip to a medical device company.
“I’m so grateful to all of the mentors and professors who helped me accomplish my goals, especially those at the Anderson Center who challenged and encouraged me,” Winter said. “Four months ago, I never would have expected that I’d start a business, but I’ve learned so much throughout the process.”
Winter encourages any student who has a business idea to take advantage of the resources provided by the Anderson Center.