University of Louisville Magazine

FALL 2017

The University of Louisville Alumni Magazine: for alumni, faculty, staff, students and anyone that is a UofL Cardinal fan.

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21 FALL 2017 SMARTER, GREENER, SAFER ONLINE: For more on Li's research, watch the video at uoflnews.com. Y ou're driving down the highway, approaching a busy intersection when the light abruptly turns yel- low. You pause. Do you reach for the gas or the brake? That moment when a green light changes to yellow causes indecision in many drivers, and that moment of inde- cision can lead to a dangerous collision. Richard Li, assistant professor at the J.B. Speed School of Engineering, and a group of engineering students have risen to the challenge of researching a smarter alternative to a risky game of chicken. Traffic engineers estimate this dilemma zone to be up to 600 feet from the stoplight. Li set up a radar tracker at the intersection of Shel- byville Road and Juneau Drive in east Louisville to collect data on the speeds of cars as they approach a stoplight. The research garnered attention and B udding local entrepreneurs are turning to the small screen to help find financing for their big ideas. The University of Louisville Col- lege of Business (CoB) partnered with WBNAtv21 in Louisville to produce "Dream Funders," which links aspiring entrepreneurs with skilled investors. The show, currently in its third season, began the partnership in sea- son two in fall 2016. A WBNA crew travels to the Drummond Executive Center at the CoB several times a year to film entrepreneurs' presentations and answers to questions from the prospective investors. The program also features expert advice from Van Clouse, chair of the college's Forcht Center for Entrepreneurship, and Suzanne Bergmeister, assistant director of the Forcht Center and the college's entrepreneur-in-residence. The "Dreamers," or presenters, are Louisville-area residents trying to get ideas off the ground that have a wide range — examples include homemade kombucha, cake deco- rating, purses made with Bible story themes and celebration event-plan- ning for those who have died. Some presenters are graduates of the entre- preneurial MBA program. "It's a good way for the school to promote what they're doing and have it reflect the fact that they're very keen on entrepreneurship. For me, it was like going back home," said Paidemoyo Charasika, 08GB, an MBA grad who appeared on the show to seek funding for Sippin, an app that helps users find social interac- tions tailored toward hyper-specific commonalities. Pitching the dream It's a good way for the school to promote what they're doing and have it reflect the fact that they're very keen on entrepreneurship. For me, it was like going back home. funding from the National Science Foundation. Senior Samantha Crowder says the group wants to use this information to see if longer or shorter green lights might be needed in order to limit the number of cars in the yellow zone at a time. "Ultimately, we're hoping that we can provide a better dilemma to actually make it safer," Li said. Charasika and his partner, Raymond Tri, 17E, did not receive a financial investment, but got invaluable mentoring from judge Cyndi Masters. Masters is frequently featured on the show and is CEO of DBS Interactive, a digital marketing and web development/ design agency in Louisville. "There's been some evolution that all started with a conver- sation she had with us," Charasika said. WBNAtv21 reaches more than 662,000 households in the Louisville area. "We are very excited to have the University of Louisville College of Business as a key partner once again in 'Dream Funders.' This university is a really a gem to our community and aspiring entrepreneurs," said Tom Fawbush, WBNAtv21 general manager.

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