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This is the third year in a row that one of ASU’s Edson student startups has been a finalist in the competition. In 2012, JJ Tang, CEO and co-founder of Vantage Realized, was selected as a finalist and ultimately placed second in the competition. In 2011, ASU dominated the competition: three of the top five finalists were ASU student startups, with Gabrielle Palermo, co-founder of G3Box, ultimately winning "College Entrepreneur of 2011."
"College Entrepreneur of the Year" is one of three awards – including "Entrepreneur of the Year" and "Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year" – bestowed by Entrepreneur Magazine on the nation’s top entrepreneurs each year. Entrepreneur Magazine received thousands of entries for the competition and then selected the top five entries in each award category as finalists.
“We are very humbled and grateful that Entrepreneur Magazine has recognized that SafeSIPP has a device that could save hundreds of thousands of lives,” Schoepf said. “Being named a finalist in a competition like this will really help us get the word out to people, who have never had to fear for their lives when taking a drink of water, and will hopefully cause them vote to support the SafeSIPP mission of bringing clean water to 2,500 people in the next year.”
SafeSIPP was founded by Schoepf and his fellow ASU chemical engineering classmates Lindsay Fleming and Taylor Barker, to solve three critical problems facing rural communities in the developing world: transportation, purification and storage of drinking water. SafeSIPP was formed out of ASU’s incredibly popular and successful EPICS (Engineering Projects in Community Service) class, where students are encouraged to use their training as engineers to solve real-world, crisis-level problems. In the EPICS program, SafeSIPP developed a life-changing water transportation system that increases the amount of water that can be collected at a time to more than double the standard. Their unique system has made barrels of water so easy to transport that it has drastically reduced the amount of time it takes by 75 percent.
Not only is their device life-changing, but for the nearly 1 billion people who live in the developing world who do not have access to clean drinking water, it is potentially life-saving. More than 3.5 million deaths occur each year due to diseases contracted from contaminated water and 98 percent of those deaths occur in the developing world. As a team of chemical engineers from ASU’s Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering, Schoepf and his co-founders knew that SafeSIPP would need to do more than just make water easier to transport and store; they had to make it safer to drink.
“The statistics are staggering,” said Schoepf. “More than 3,000 children die each day in developing countries because they don’t have access to clean, safe-to-consume water. When the SafeSIPP team set out to create our water system, we knew we had to address this issue as well as the transportation issue. So we invented a purification unit that attaches within the system so that, as the barrel is being transported, the water is simultaneously being purified as it moves.”
SafeSIPP is an alumni company of the Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative, run by the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group at ASU – a joint initiative between the Office of Knowledge Enterprise and Arizona Technology Enterprises to supports students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members in the wide range of entrepreneurship-related classes and programs available throughout the university.
“We have seen such unique and impactful startups in the Edson program over the past three years, and you can really see how ASU is leading the way in student entrepreneurship at the university level in our track record over the past three years in this competition” said Gordon McConnell, assistant vice president of entrepreneurship and innovation for ASU. “ASU’s student startup companies have proven they can be successful in the program, but our other finalist companies from this competition are still going strong, proving that they remain successful after they graduate from Edson. G3Box is ready to ship their first clinic to Kenya this fall and Vantage Realized continues to build and test beta products to make movement easier for wheelchair users. I could not be more proud of the work our student startups have accomplished."
To vote for Schoepf and SafeSIPP in this year’s College Entrepreneur of the Year competition, visit http://www.entrepreneur.com/e2013college and click on the vote button at the bottom of Schoepf’s profile. To learn more about SafeSIPP, visit www.safesipp.org.
Meagan Garrett, email@example.com
Marketing and Communications Manager
Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group at ASU