Students Prepare to Pitch "SaveMe" Device at International Entrepreneur Event
Chase Hoffschneider noticed something he didn’t like while walking on campus.
“I’m kind of a bigger guy and our campus is well lit but when I’m walking at night, I’ve noticed that people take the other direction to stay on the safe side because they don’t know who I am,” Hoffschneider explained. “If people don’t feel safe, we should give them something to boost their confidence.”
Hoffschneider, a sophomore business administration and communication studies major from Burwell, Neb., came up with the idea for “SaveMe,” a small device that fits in a pocket or attaches to a key chain. This spring he pitched the idea at Nebraska Wesleyan’s annual Quick Pitch Competition and earned the opportunity to participate in the 2018 Network Globally, Act Locally (NGAL) Program.
NGAL is an international entrepreneurial consortium that helps students develop the requisite skills to launch startup companies. The consortium includes students from NWU, College of Charleston, The Citadel, and the University of Tartu and Tallinn University of Technology, both located in Estonia. Students spend a week in Estonia working on an existing venture or scalable venture idea at the University of Tartu Idea Lab and the Mektory at Tallinn University Technology. The group returns to Lincoln June 11-15 where they will be mentored by area startups before pitching their own products to a group of distinguished judges.
Hoffschnieder said the device he created alerts law enforcement of an abduction. If the user is in danger, they can press the device three times and it transmits a beacon to provide the location of the user. Phones are usually taken away or destroyed during an abduction, Hoffschneider said.
“The survival rate lowers drastically,” Hoffschneider said.
NGAL will give Hoffschneider an intensive two-week experience to develop “SaveMe” and learn more about entrepreneurship. He is being joined on the project by NWU junior business administration major Simon Holloway of Lincoln. Hoffschneider describes the opportunity to participate in NGAL as “once in a lifetime.”
“You come to college to learn through the different classes, but you also come to develop yourself through all of your experiences,” Hoffschneider reflected. “So an experience like this is going to help develop me into whatever I decide to become down the road and hopefully into the best individual possible.”
Also representing Nebraska Wesleyan at NGAL are Angela Gallo, a junior business administration and marketing major from Denver, Colo., and Jordan Cahill, a senior business administration and finance major from Omaha. Their product is titled, “BuzzAround Maps.”
Eight teams from the consortium will pitch their ideas before a distinguished panel of judges on Friday, June 15, beginning at 9 a.m. in McDonald Theatre. Teams are competing for cash prizes that will help in their product development.
Now in its fourth year, NGAL is made possible by the Harry and Reba Huge Foundation. Harry Huge is a graduate of Nebraska Wesleyan University.