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State of Florida Healthcare Innovation Competition offers students $10,000 prize

TAMPA, FL—(March 27, 2015) - What does a breath-actuated glucose monitoring system, polymer-hinged finger brace, and a wheelchair home navigation system have in common? They're all inventions by Florida university students designed to meet a need in the healthcare industry.

On Thursday, April 2, college student innovators from across the state will share their ideas for revolutionizing the quality and delivery of healthcare — and they may receive a chance to make those ideas reality. Winning student presentations will receive cash prizes of $10,000 for first place, $5,000 for second, and $2,500 for third.

Florida students from four universities will pitch their ideas for innovations in healthcare at the University of South Florida USF Connect Oak View Room, 3702 Spectrum Blvd., Tampa, from 1 to 4:30 p.m. Florida Blue, The National Academy of Inventors and the USF Center for Entrepreneurship are partnering to promote this innovative program to encourage early-stage healthcare innovation and entrepreneurship in the state of Florida.

"USF is the ideal place to host such a statewide competition, with our interdisciplinary Center for Entrepreneurship and our Student Innovation Incubator fostering creativity and business acumen," said Moez Limayem, dean of the USF Muma College of Business. "This competition is yet another example of USF's commitment to developing student entrepreneurship, this time in the in-demand field of healthcare. We cannot find a better partner for this endeavor than Florida Blue, who is outstanding in supporting student success throughout Florida."

"We are excited and proud to partner once again with USF for the Healthcare Innovation Competition and to celebrate students and their great ideas," Florida Blue Market President David Pizzo said. "Innovation is core to our company's mission and to helping solve many of our nation's healthcare challenges.

Florida Blue executives will be on the panel at the event that will evaluate the presentations, along with local business professionals, judges from the National Academy of Inventors, and USF faculty.

"The students will have to be laser-focused on what's new and different about the innovation, identify a solution for solving a problem in healthcare, and articulate how this new innovation will positively impact the quality and delivery of healthcare," said Michael Fountain, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship.

In addition, presenters will also have the opportunity to apply to be selected for Florida Healthbox -- an incubator-type program that identifies high-potential healthcare technology startups and provides them with the resources, support, and network to enable rapid development and growth. The presenters are students attending USF, the University of Florida, Florida International University, and Rollins College.

This year, fifteen presentations by students will include:

The Center for Entrepreneurship is a nationally ranked, interdisciplinary center, and is part of the USF Muma College of Business, in collaboration with the USF College of Engineering, the Morsani College of Medicine, and the Patel School of Global Sustainability.