McGuire Entrepreneurship at Work
Entrepreneurship Venture Teams Find Communication Solution in Open Innovation Competition
"Team Sandwich" — the McGuire Entrepreneurship
Program venture team that suggested Wiggio.com
(left to right): Dat Thanh Duong, Michael DiCenzo,
Ben Levine, and Kyle Tek.
By Liz Warren-Pederson
When the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program’s web system for venture team communications lost key features, the program challenged its current class of students to find a new solution.
“We’ve been on the forefront of communications technology for a number of years,” said McGuire Center director Sherry Hoskinson. “The program has always been focused on the real world, and for that reason, students have managed their ventures through cloud computing tools instead of through existing classroom management systems. In the real world, as entrepreneurs, they would be challenged to find their own solution.”
“It makes sense that the program isn't shy about leveraging the creative abilities of its students,” said business economics and finance major Dat Thanh Duong. “Entrepreneurs are pragmatic. The selection process reflected that reality.”
The Open Innovation Challenge provided the venture teams with a list of criteria for the ideal, cloud-based solution and offered $500 to the team that found the best match. In addition to being free and private, the system needed to allow students to communicate with each other and their mentors, upload and store documents, and experiment with different marketing approaches, such as websites.
The finalists were invited to deliver a presentation, and Duong and his teammates Michael DiCenzo, Ben Levine, and Kyle Tek — operating temporarily as “Team Sandwich” while their venture comes together — topped the competition by proposing a two-year-old platform called Wiggio.com.
“The best part about Wiggio.com is its usability,” said Duong. “Clean and intuitive user interfaces give users a comfortable collaborative experience. And it works.”
Wiggio was created in January 2008 by two Cornell graduates looking for a better way to manage the responsibilities of working in groups. The project secured funding in August of 2008 and was officially released to the public on September 15 of that year. “Our mission is to continuously develop an application that eliminates the frustration of working in groups by providing the powerful, straightforward functionality that you need to work effectively,” said Darryl Myers, VP business development for Wiggio.com.
Going forward, Duong and his team will also act as the solution’s technical advisor, providing staff training and ad hoc tech support assuring successful transition and management of the system.
“Since we introduced Wiggio to the program, we'll be available to help classmates who have questions about it,” Duong said. “So far, the transition has been smooth, and Wiggio well-received.”
Learn more about the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship.