Young, global entrepreneurs gather for annual challenge

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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ7)— All week, young entrepreneurs from across the world have been getting ready to present tangible product ideas they have created to better serve communities everywhere.

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It’s all part of the VT Global Entrepreneur Challenge. This is a competition Virginia Tech has hosted for a decade. This year, $45,000 was up for grabs with 14 teams competing.

The teams have been in Southwest Virginia all week preparing to put their ideas to the test.

WDBJ7 caught up with one team from Switzerland that hopes to help prevent sports injuries with technology they invented. Team Caressoma wants to help doctors and coaches better diagnose injuries in athletes.

“This really has a huge potential and people really need it.” Caressoma’s CEO said using ultrasound technology, their machine can analyze data to show just how severe injuries are.

“People are really interested in using the device and helping them to quantify their muscles,” Dr. Sophia Borowka said. “There are things that you could have that are not easy to see or to also feel even.”

“If an athlete plays with an injury, then they’re more likely to get injured even worse,” said Karen McNew McGuire at Carilion Clinic. “This technology that they’re talking about would try to pinpoint exactly how well their muscles have healed from whatever injury or whatever training they’ve been going through.”

Caressoma got matched with Carilion, which helped sponsor them throughout the week and provide advice on how to go about doing their presentation.

Michelle Koschorke, the team’s software guru, also created a space where doctors can get results immediately from the machine, and an application for the athletes to document their pain.

“The athlete is going to use it as a tool to interact with our table,” Koschorke said. “He also can add some personal details like how does he feel, how is his level of pain and his level of fatigue.”

“To know that they put all of this hard work into something that at the end of the day, whether they win or not, they’ve been able to put their ideas out there for other potential support in the future,” McNew McGuire said.

Caressoma took home $15,000 for the most outstanding service. The grand prize $25,000 winner was from Virginia Tech for developing exoskeletons to improve lives by making lifting easier. A team from Austria won $5,000 for the people’s choice for their startup to enable upgrading floor plans.

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