NAPLES, Fla - Students at FGCU are taking lessons learned in the classroom to the real world. Engineering and business students teamed up to build and market an entirely new product for people with disabilities. The hope is that their inventions turn into a local business.
The problem: getting a disabled person in and out of a pool.
FGCU Senior Scott Kelly says, "the pool's dimensions had about 18 inches of clearance and a Hoyer lift wasn't able to get these disabled people into the pool."
The solution: The AquaRamp. "Using the hand crank you can raise and lower these people into the pool," says Kelly.
Kelly, an engineering student, and his classmates are the brains behind the AquaRamp. They competed against five other groups selling their product to potential investors at VentureX in Mercato, a new office space built for entrepreneurs.
"It gives the kids the idea that this is really real. This is not just like another class," says Sandra Kauanui, a business professor at FGCU.
The students teamed up with Goodwill to address real life needs in the community. The engineering students came up with the product and the business students created the business plan.
"This is how you apply your education to the real world and we're very interested at the college of business in growing entrepreneurship. It's a win win for the kids and a win win for the community," says Kauanui.
That's because the lesson doesn't end with this competition. The hope is that these products make their way from Venture X to the real world.
"We're really hoping we can get some funding for this and start a business of our own," says Kelly.
The winners of Wednesday nights contest will get $1,000 from VentureX. They will be announced on Monday.
Students were not given any money to build these products. Everything was either donated of paid for with their own funds.