College of Science

College of Science launches Catalyst Competition, a new entrepreneurship challenge


Kickoff event will be held Oct. 29

College of Science students are innovators and problem-solvers. They’ll show off those skills in the Catalyst Competition, a new two-semester entrepreneurship challenge culminating with a pitch contest and monetary prizes.

Catalyst kicks off Oct. 29 at 3 p.m. in the Watt Innovation Center with a panel of successful entrepreneurs and SCIENCE alumni discussing their experiences and what it takes to create and launch a successful product. In addition, College of Science leaders will answer questions about the competition.

All students interested in participating in the competition should register to attend the kickoff event, which will be held in the Watt Innovation Center.

“The Catalyst Competition will provide SCIENCE students with great exposure to the world of entrepreneurship, from genesis to development to marketing of ideas,” said Steve Creager, associate dean of the College of Science. “I am excited to see our students’ educational growth as they learn how ideas transition into products.”

headshot of man wearing suit and tie
Jeff Pearson

Panelists are:

Jeff Pearson is a patent attorney at Mei & Mark LLP. He is also one of the original team members of Grip Venture Studio, a network of professionals dedicated to helping emerging companies. As an attorney, Pearson provides the unique perspective of having tried a wide variety of cases before juries and judges worldwide. He has served as lead trial counsel in trials in federal district court, state court, military court, and the U.S. International Trade Commission. He is a Clemson graduate with a degree in mechanical engineering.

Man wearing a suit
Woody Bryan

Woody Bryan has a long, successful career in entrepreneurship and innovation. After earning a zoology degree at Clemson, he went on to a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutics at the Medical University of South Carolina. Bryan has over 25 years of experience driving growth across organizations with his diverse track record of product and technology licensing and mergers and acquisition negotiations and transactions. He is the chief business officer at Revolo Biotherapeutics, an emerging global leader in immune-resetting therapies. He currently serves on the advisory board of the Arthur M. Spiro Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership. 

woman wearing orange top
Susi Robinson

Susi Robinson is a leader who has built a successful career providing enterprise solutions including robotic process automation, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and digital engagement for global companies including IBM, Dell and UiPath. Robinson is currently a senior business development executive at Nikia Dx LLC in Charlotte, North Carolina. She volunteers with Innovate Charlotte, serving as a mentor and adviser to entrepreneurs in a startup ecosystem. She is a Clemson graduate with a degree in mathematical science.

smiling woman wearing orange coat and white shirt
Shontavia Johnson

Shontavia Johnson is the associate vice president for entrepreneurship and innovation in Clemson’s provost’s office. She is one of the nation’s foremost experts in digital brand building, intellectual property law and inclusive entrepreneurship. As host of The Shontavia Show, a web series and podcast, Johnson tackles the most common questions about starting, operating and growing a business and personal brand. She also has built the Brand+Business Academy, which teaches working professionals how to create their businesses in five weeks or less while working full time.

Catalyst is open to teams of three to five students. At least half of the students on each team must be in a College of Science undergraduate major. Graduate students are eligible to participate as part of a team.

The project’s focus must relate in some way to a College of Science major. Each team must have a College of Science faculty or staff mentor.

The deadline to apply for the competition is Nov. 29. The College of Science will announce teams selected for the competition on Dec. 6.

Each team will receive up to $500 seed money to develop concepts and prototypes. As part of the program, teams receive mentorship and support from working professionals and campus innovation and entrepreneurship program representatives. Following idea development, student teams will pitch their innovations to a panel of judges in March 2022 for a chance to win up to $2,500 in cash prizes.

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