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Prototype Labor Monitoring System Team Wins UTSA Technology Entrepreneurship Competition

Claresta Solutions, a team of six business and engineering students triumphed at the $100,000 Student Technology Venture Competition, presented by The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Center for Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship (CITE). The UTSA students developed a prototype electronic labor monitoring system and wrote a business plan to market the technology.

UTSA competitors In Line Innovations and INI Technology respectively placed second and third in the business planning competition, held Saturday, Dec. 7 at the UTSA Main Campus. The top three winning teams receive a cash prize and in-kind business services such as marketing, consulting and office space totaling $100,000 to support the launch of their new companies.

Claresta Solutions offers the LaborGuard Monitoring System, which uses wireless technology to capture and track the electronic impulses created by the fetal heart rate and uterine contractions during labor. Capitalizing on advances in data processing capabilities paired with Bluetooth technology, the LaborGuard system was designed as a completely electronic solution. Claresta Solutions includes undergraduate business majors Somer Baburek, Margaret Mayfield, Servando Quinones and Alejandro Sosa, undergraduate engineering major Nolan Manteufel and biomedical engineering Ph.D. candidate Steven Solis.

Each competing team received guidance from an experienced professional within the San Antonio technology business community. Ian Clements, managing partner at Targeted Technology Fund II and CEO of ViroXis Corporation, mentored Claresta Solutions.

In all, six teams entered this semester’s competition. The additional teams included:

  • Mind Controlled Wheelchair, which uses a wireless electroencephalography headset to control the use of a wheelchair. Student team includes Graham Cull, Tanner Daniel, Yousef Failakaw, Analysa Gonzales, Nathan Gonzalez, Daniella Lerma and Carel Long.
  • In Line Innovations, which offers a way to locate water pockets within an oil and gas pipeline in order to prevent undesirable corrosive effects caused by acid buildup in the water pockets. Student team includes Samantha Block, Cassie Constanzo, Nick Goodwin, Robert Hampton, Kasi Holifield, Zachary Moses, Raquel Stark and Nick Taylor.
  • INI Technology, which offers a hand-held mechanical surgical instrument devised to remove all or part of the uterus of a patient during a hysterectomy procedure. Student team includes Cellan Caverte, Ryan Garcia, Josue I. Cruz-Lambert, Anne Margaret, Adolfo Mijares, Pablo Pardo, Rani Putri and Ta’Mara Williams.
  • Trench Winch, a towable trenching device that attaches behind a riding lawnmower. Student team includes Clark Carpenter, Frank Duran, Efrem Holley, Garth Morrison, Eduardo Rivera, Kevin Schielack and Johnathan Vela.
  • U-Cane, a device that enhances the function of the white cane used by a blind person by using ultrasonic waves to increase the detection of obstacles, particularly eye-level obstructions. Student team includes William Cochran, Moses Duggirala, Leonardo Espinoza, Ana Munoz, Cliff Paul and Ryan Waugh.

Established in 2007 and held semi-annually, the $100K Student Technology Venture Competition at UTSA offers the largest award of all undergraduate business planning competitions in the nation. It offers UTSA’s undergraduate senior business and engineering students the opportunity to build a technology, patent it, create a business and launch it in a rigorous incubator program.

Financed by the Texas Research & Technology Foundation, the competition also receives support from Cox|Smith, the San Antonio Technology Center, Rackspace, the Whittington Group, the UTSA colleges of Business and Engineering and the UTSA Vice President for Research.

For more information about the UTSA Center for Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship, visit

--KC Gonzalez

MSMOT Degree Offers New Concentrations

The Master of Science in Management of Technology (MSMOT) degree is now offering two concentrations as part of the major.  Students can choose to specialize in Leading Technological Change or Technology Entrepreneurship.  The first concentration focuses on leadership issues and skills required to stimulate and manage technological innovation and creativity. The entrepreneurship concentration focuses on helping entrepreneurs bring valuable technological ideas, goods and services to the marketplace.
The MSMOT degree is an interdisciplinary degree involving faculty from both the College of Business and the College of Engineering. Offered by the Department of Entrepreneurship and Technology Management, the program develops technology leaders with strong management skills and a broad knowledge of emerging technologies.

Classes provide a living laboratory for solving management of technology challenges with team projects forming an essential component. Students learn from each other by sharing their professional experiences and expertise. Small class size and class interaction provide business networks for students. To meet the needs of busy professionals, classes are offered in the evenings. Distance learning provides students with the opportunity to participate in the learning process offsite.

Prospective students are encouraged to contact the department to learn more about this innovative degree program at (210) 458-5782.

--Wendy Frost

Project Management Program Internationally Ranked

The college's MBA concentration in project management was ranked #31 in North America by Eduniversal International. The rankings were based on an 18-month survey of 12,000 master's and MBA programs in the top 1,000 business schools in nine geographical regions.  The ranking is based upon three criteria: (1) reputation of the program; (2) salary of the first employment of the graduates; and (3) satisfaction of the students. 

Established in 2003, the MBA with a concentration in project management has rapidly grown into the second largest MBA concentration.  This degree program provides students with a solid business foundation and specialized expertise in project management. 

Graduates lead many types of projects including software development, construction and new product development.  Recent graduates have been placed with such organizations as Southwest Research Institute, the United Services Automobile Association (USAA) and City Public Service.  

If you’re interested in a career in project management, contact the department at (210) 458-5782 for additional information about this major.
--Wendy Frost

Entrepreneurship Faculty Member Receives Outstanding Teaching Award

Anita Leffel, senior lecturer and assistant director of the Center for Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship (CITE), was named a recipient of the Richard S. Howe Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award.

Leffel is a dedicated and enthusiastic teacher and mentor who has taught at UTSA for 12 years. She was instrumental in designing the college’s entrepreneurship programs and launching CITE.

“I am humbled to receive the Howe award for undergraduate teaching,” said Leffel. “Dr. Howe is a role model for achieving the highest standard of excellence in teaching, and the award in his name recognizes and acknowledges not just my effort, but my constant drive to achieve the highest results.”

One particular program that she has spearheaded is the $100K Student Technology Venture Competition. This biannual competition gives students hands-on experience as early stage entrepreneurs. Teams of senior business and engineering students work throughout the semester to develop a technology demonstrator and business plan to develop a new company. Their work is then “pitched” to a panel of judges and potential investors. In total, over 350 students have participated in the competition since 2007, and over 75 new ventures have been pitched to investors.

“Professor Leffel is an exemplary professional who, through her work, conveys a genuine passion for and understanding of education, self-improvement, and entrepreneurship,” said Matthew Jackson, ’10, a former student. “She tirelessly challenges her students to become more than they are.”

She is also the faculty advisor for the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization and Toastmasters at UTSA. Leffel received the Acton Foundation for Entrepreneurial Excellence Award for Entrepreneurship Education in 2007.
Recipients were chosen based on sustained excellence in working with undergraduate students in signature experiences outside the traditional classroom environment.
--Wendy Frost

UTSA and Soldiers Angels Partner to Offer Academy for Veteran Entrepreneurs

The UTSA Center for Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship (CITE) has partnered with Soldiers' Angels to form an entrepreneurship training program for veterans in San Antonio interested in starting a business venture as a route to financial independence.

The Soldiers' Angels Entrepreneur Academy is a six-month program that will take the entrepreneur from concept to business development, business plan and investor pitch. Participating veterans will benefit from a rigorous, structured curriculum with hands-on learning, seminars, networking opportunities, and personalized interaction and mentoring by successful veteran entrepreneurs.

Additionally, veterans in each class will compete for venture capital to establish their new businesses when they exit the academy. By the end of the six-month program, the goal is that each participating veteran will have developed a start-up business and appointed an advisory board.

Under the coordination of CITE assistant director Anita Leffel, CITE will provide curriculum, instruction, program materials, mentorship and advising for the academy.

The entrepreneur academy launches a new endeavor by Soldiers' Angels called Project-360°, which will be a full-circle, drop-in support center for service members of all branches. In addition to the entrepreneur academy, Project-360° will include a resource center for veteran issues and transition support and a health and wellness center addressing both physical and mental fitness.

Offered both onsite at the Soldiers' Angels Support Center in San Antonio and offsite via the Internet, the academy's curriculum will equip students to be truly successful in America's competitive business environment. Designed as a business incubator, the entrepreneur academy will include full amenities such as high-speed wireless, conference rooms, meeting rooms, private offices, and a resource room with copiers, scanners and other resources.
Soldiers' Angels is a volunteer-based, award-winning nonprofit organization that provides aid and comfort to members of the U.S. armed forces as well as veterans and military families.

CITE is an interdisciplinary center in the UTSA College of Business and College of Engineering, which fosters the growth of entrepreneurs and new technology-based ventures through education, experiences, resources and support.
The first Soldiers' Angels Entrepreneur Academy class of 20 onsite students in San Antonio is scheduled to start in July.
For more information and to apply for the entrepreneur academy, visit the Soldiers' Angels Project-360° website or email
--KC Scharnberg

Entrepreneurship Students Develop Social Entrepreneurship Projects
Rather than just read about entrepreneurship, students in Dr. Anita Leffel's entrepreneurship classes are challenged to become entrepreneurs and create their own businesses as part of the curriculum.

Leffel, senior lecturer in management, teaches classes in entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship and leads the student tech competition practicum. "The ultimate experiential learning event for an entrepreneurship student is to be involved with a start-up," said Leffel. "They take the tools they have been given and create businesses. Students move from a theory-oriented classroom to a hands-on project that affords the students an opportunity to become nascent entrepreneurs."

As part of the entrepreneurship class, students must form a company, write a business plan, develop an implementation strategy and marketing plan, present the plan to financiers for seed money, and start and run a successful business. Past student businesses have included a student magazine, art calendar and merchandising businesses.

With more than 60 majors, a new focus of the entrepreneurship program has been on social entrepreneurship. Social entrepreneurship asks entrepreneurs to pursue a solution to a real social problem. Senior Davin Gutierrez accomplished just that goal this semester when he founded GRAFFITI Found, a social enterprise established to promote local artists and social awareness. GRAFFITI Found works with young artists and helps them promote and sell their artwork. They have also partnered with San Antonio's Graffiti Wipeout Commission to contribute community service hours to assist in graffiti cleanup.

"We were trying to bridge the worlds of urban and fine art," said Gutierrez, who is an entrepreneurship major and artist himself. "I didn't know what to expect going into the class and being asked to form a business. But that idea has become a reality. You can do theory as much as you want, but you'll never learn until you go out and do it for yourself. Business is tough; you always have to persevere. But it is easier to do something that you care about and that can help to make a difference."

Leffel relishes in the success of her students. "Entrepreneurship is not just about a business. We are teaching the spirit of entrepreneurship—human progress, development, achievement and change.


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