LISTEN LIVE

USF Student Innovation Incubator

Dez Williams, Mark Schreiner, Justified Films, Stuby

WUSF’s University Beat has been doing something new this year – profiling entrepreneurs with ties to the University of South Florida.

That includes faculty, students and alumni who have started their own businesses, ranging from watermelon-flavored water and anti-nausea wristbands to apps and movie production companies.

USF

From creating a new beverage to an app for finding study partners, entrepreneurs with ties to the University of South Florida are trying hard to turn their ideas into actual products.

This week on Florida Matters, we speak to some of the USF faculty, students and alumni who share some of the lessons they’ve learned along the way.

Stuby

Just in time for final exams, a pair of University of South Florida sophomore engineering students have come up with an app that allows people to match with the ideal study partner -- think "Tinder for study groups."

AquaMelon

Dez Williams isn't aiming low when it comes to an ultimate goal for his watermelon juice company, AquaMelon.

"We would like to be the Tropicana of watermelon," he said, referring to the orange juice giant.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

During his time at the University of South Florida, Ismet Handžic earned both a master’s degree and a doctorate in mechanical engineering.

But instead of leaving the university and taking his ideas to the corporate world, he joined Moterum, one of the almost fifty startup companies based in the USF Office of Technology Transfer. (see the list of startups here)

Working with principal investigator Kyle Reed and mentor David Huizenga, they are bringing one of those concepts– an adapter for crutches – to the marketplace.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

You know the saying about an apple a day keeping the doctor away. Now two USF students are hoping that “one apple” might help keep an entire neighborhood healthy.

Hector Angus and Andrea Little have opened 1Apple Grocery in Plant City, in part to provide relief in a so-called “food desert.”

"A food desert is an area where the residents don’t have access to fresh fruits, or nutritious foods," said Angus, who's pursuing his bachelor's degree in information technology with a minor in business.

"So that’s one of the problems that we’re trying to tackle with 1Apple is being able to provide the fresh produce for the families," added Little, who just completed her third year of medical school.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

What do a Tampa neighborhood grocery store, a watermelon juice maker and an online marketplace for goods from indigenous tribes around the world have in common?

Two things actually: they're all businesses created by USF students, and they're among the fifteen charter members of the USF Student Innovation Incubator.

The incubator is the brainchild of USF students Keosha Poole and Dez Williams (creator of the watermelon juice maker, AquaMelon Water).

"The purpose (of the incubator) is to spur innovation and entrepreneurship on campus, across the different colleges we have; we want to essentially create jobs out of the student ventures we have on campus," according to Poole, a dual Masters student with the Patel College of Global Sustainablity and the College of Business Center for Entrepreneurship.