By A Caldwell
Feb 25, 2013
Ann Arbor, MI - Charles Péguy, noted French poet and essayist, said, “It is the essence of genius to make use of the simplest ideas.”
It was a simple idea to have healthy food options more readily available to busy students like herself that inspired Radhika Gutta to enter her Health2GO concept in the MProvements category of 1,000 Pitches late last fall, having no idea that she would eventually win the $1,000 prize.
“It was just fun to pitch ideas that would benefit everyone,” she said.
Currently a junior at UM majoring in Spanish and biomolecular science, Radhika heard about 1,000 Pitches, a contest run by MPowered Enterprise to encourage on-campus entrepreneurship, from friends, Facebook, and Twitter. Undergraduate and graduate students were invited to create 1-5 minute videos to pitch their best ideas in eight categories: Health; Consumer Product and Small Business; Education; Tech and Hardware; Environment; Mobile Apps; MProvements; and Web and Software. However Radhika didn’t consider developing an idea of her own until she went to the Stephen M. Ross School of Business one day for lunch.
Impressed by the options she saw available to students there, Radhika soon realized that more convenient, healthy options needed to be available to students in LSA, especially those that were often in the Chemisty, Modern Languages, and Mason Hall buildings.
“Many of the choices were from vending machines or fast food,” Radhika said. “Nothing really healthy at all.”
As an alternative, she imagined a healthy food stand that would stock fresh, affordable, convenient, healthy food options, managed by a small staff of two people. And she decided that Mason Hall, between the vending machines, would be the perfect spot.
“It [the food] had to be something easy to pick up,” she added. “Something easy to eat on the run, like sandwich wraps and fresh fruit.”
Quickly Radhika fleshed out her idea and put together her video pitch, but she had no expectations of winning. She was surprised when she made the semifinals; stunned when she won.
“I didn’t even prepare a speech, because I really didn’t think I would win,” Radhika admitted.
Still she is thrilled by the win and is already working with Manish Parikh, Central Student Government president to get Health2Go started.
“I would love to see the program working before I graduate,” she said.
However, though she does plan to remain involved with the project after graduation, being on campus when Health2GO launches is not her primary concern. Instead she is hopeful that busy students with tight schedules will have a new healthier option on campus.
“I think it can really benefit everyone.”
So why is someone so strongly interested in health and medicine majoring in Spanish?
“It [Spanish] is a growing language and right now it’s playing a prominent role in the medical world,” Radhika said. “It’s also a really beautiful language.”
To view Radhika’s winning pitch visit: https://1000pitches.com/pitch/5305.
To learn more about MPowered Enterprise and 1,000 Pitches visit: http://www.mpowered.umich.edu/.
Radhika Gutta is a pre-med junior at UM, double majoring in Spanish and biomolecular science. She plans to pursue medical school after graduation and hopes to study abroad in Spain in summer 2013.