From left to right: Anthony Mathews, Ludy Castro, Cleo, Younkyung Cho, Chuka Ufomadu, Bob Turra (© Cover & Content, LLC)

Kickstart Weekend Offers Aspiring Entrepreneurs Hands-On Experiences

Earlier this month, more than 50 students, entrepreneurs, startup enthusiasts, coaches, mentors and community leaders gathered at Embry-Riddle’s MicaPlex for this year’s Kickstart Weekend.

During the 54-hour event, Embry-Riddle students participated on teams that created prototypes, conducted market research and developed business models for innovative ideas. To assist and guide participants, local coaches answered questions and offered recommendations throughout the process.

After intense preparations, the teams presented their companies to a panel of three judges, which included Dr. Charles Duva from EM Billing & Management, Dayle Moore of Canvs, and Donald Summerlin from Donnie’s Donuts.  

The winning team, Sea Guardian, was comprised of several Embry-Riddle students. The company offered an inexpensive solution for notifying a ship captain when a sailor inadvertently goes overboard.

Attendees also heard from keynote speaker Chris Gilpin, president and CEO of SignalVault, LLC. Gilpin shared his experiences from the “Shark Tank” TV show and also talked about what it takes to build a successful company.

According to Dr. Michael Bowers of Embry-Riddle’s Center for Entrepreneurship, student participants from past Kickstart Weekends have gone on to become incubator clients at the MicaPlex. Weintraus and Embedded Control Design both started in this fashion.

Kickstart Weekend is hosted annually by Innovate Daytona in partnership with Embry-Riddle. Innovate Daytona works to build a sustainable culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in the Volusia County region through initiatives that connect people, innovations, funding and more.



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Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is the world’s largest, oldest and most comprehensive institution specializing in aviation, aerospace, engineering and related degree programs. A fully accredited university, Embry-Riddle is also a major research center, seeking solutions to real-world problems in partnership with the aerospace industry, other universities and government agencies. A nonprofit, independent institution, Embry-Riddle offers more than 100 associate, baccalaureate, master’s and Ph.D. degree programs in its colleges of Arts & Sciences, Aviation, Business, Engineering and Security & Intelligence. The university educates students at residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., through its Worldwide Campus with more than 135 locations in the United States, Europe and Asia, and through online programs. For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter (@EmbryRiddle) and, and find expert videos at