ASU student startup named College Entrepreneur of the Year

The founders of an ASU student startup, called G3Box, have been named "College Entrepreneurs of the Year for 2011" by Entrepreneur Magazine.

" The College Entrepreneur of the Year" award is one of three awards bestowed by the magazine on the nation’s top entrepreneurs of the last year. The magazine received thousands of entries for the competition and then selected the top five entries in each award category as finalists. The finalists were then announced to the general public who voted for their top picks for each award. G3Box received votes from all over the world, including Ireland and Russia. A judging panel made the final decision.

“It was an amazing feeling knowing that our friends, families, associates, and complete strangers from around the world, believed in and supported our idea,” said Gabby Palermo, co-founder of G3Box. “I think all of us are humbled and grateful for the award and we can't wait to see where this takes us.”

Members of the G3Box team were challenged in one of their courses to determine a way to repurpose the numerous shipping containers that have been discarded at ports around the world. They immediately began to think of ways to turn the containers into something that would help people. The ASU team came up with the idea of turning the containers into portable maternity clinics that could be shipped to countries that had extremely high maternal mortality rates.

The team (which includes Palermo, a junior studying biomedical engineering; Billy Walters, a senior mechanical engineering major; and Susanna Young and Clay Tyler, both graduate students pursuing master's degrees in mechanical engineering) began plans to refurbish the containers, adding ventilation, insulation, power, and potable water. From these plans, G3Box, a more-than-profit company aimed at generating global good, was formed.

“We knew that we had the ability to change the world when we started this project,” said Young. "G3Box started from a desire to reduce drastically high maternal death rates in the developing world.  It is about the medicine and the clinics, yes, but it is also about creating jobs, developing economies, and improving the lives of people all over the world.”

G3Box is currently a part of ASU’s Edson student accelerator based in ASU SkySong, Scottsdale’s Innovation Center. The Edson accelerator provides funding, mentoring, and office space that enables students to advance their ventures.

Two of the other four finalists for Entrepreneur Magazine's "College Entrepreneur of the Year" came out of the Edson Accelerator. Jeremy Ellens and Christian Stewart were also selected as finalists in this year’s competition. Ellens is the founder of Ellens Technologies, a company that creates diagnostic reference tools and mobile applications (for iOS and Android platforms) for veterinarians and students to use to reduce diagnostic time and potential human error. Stewart is the founder of Boson Inc., a provider of Stereoscopic 3D software/hardware systems and high-fashion eye ware.

“We are very proud of the companies in the Edson program,” said Gordon McConnell, director of venture acceleration at ASU SkySong. “The companies coming out of the student startup accelerator are doing amazing work, generating revenue, and gaining international exposure.”