Marquette, Brady Corp. to award $21,000 to Brewed Ideas Challenge winners

April 11, 2019

MILWAUKEE – Marquette University’s 707 Hub and Brady Corporation on Friday, April 12, will award $21,000 in seed funding to winners of the Brewed Ideas Challenge, an annual business plan competition open to current Marquette students. 

Ten finalists are competing in one of two tracks 1) social venture and 2) traditional business. The finalists are mentored by a Brady employee leading up to Friday’s live pitch event.   

The finalist ideas in the social venture track include:

  • REVIVE, a closed loop system for recycling plastics on campus to create upcycled products
  • Sol Flame, a solar-powered clean cook stove targeted at households in urban, developing countries
  • The Hub MKE, a shop for refurbished bikes and local bike rentals
  • TEDxMarquetteU, a student led initiative to increase ideas and innovation across campus
  • OLUOMO, a custom, made-to-order Nigerian women’s fashion line

The finalist ideas in the traditional business track include:

  • ConfIdence, a curated box service designed to promote stress relief specifically for college students
  • Live A Little Vegan Ice Cream, a coconut-based product with a unique creaminess often missing in vegan frozen desserts
  • MU Clippers, a men’s grooming service
  • Togs R&D Technologies, LLC, a research company focused on health related impacts and applications of hemp
  • The Locker Room, a personalized sports website and app that aggregates the latest news on sports teams based on users preference

“Innovation is in our DNA at Marquette University, and we’re pleased that Brady Corporation continues to partner with our 707 Hub to encourage students to pitch their ideas and be difference makers on campus and in the community,” said Michael Lovell, president of Marquette University.

“Partnering with Marquette’s 707 Hub has been a great experience, and is a natural fit for Brady as we continue to focus on innovation throughout our company,” said Tom Felmer, president of Brady’s Workplace Safety division and Brady Foundation president. “Each year our employees look forward to mentoring a new group of students and seeing what creative new business and product ideas they come up with.”

Students will begin presenting their ideas in a “Shark Tank”-like setting to the judges at 1:15 p.m. with winners announced at 4:30 p.m.  The event, which is hosted at the 707 Hub, is open and free to all attendees. 

The competition will be judged by two representatives from Brady Corporation: Tom Felmer, president of Brady’s Workplace Safety division, and Katie Milbeck, Innovation Incubator senior manager. Two Marquette alumni will also judge the competition: Asim Khan, co-founder of ZYN Holistic Wellness, and Marianne Szymanski, founder and president of Toy Tip, Inc. and entrepreneurship professor at the University of Southern California.

The Brewed Ideas Challenge is sponsored by the Brady Foundation and programmed by The Kohler Center for Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation Initiative. This is the sixth year Marquette University and Brady Corporation have partnered on pitch competitions. The program has awarded more than $100,000 during that time. Former winners include: Sendgineering, a 2-1 bit; Complete Shaping, bilateral mastectomy apparel; Bridge the City Podcast; Thrift/ed, a platform for college students to buy and sell products without leaving campus; and Bimbley, a search platform for senior housing options.

ABOUT the 707 Hub

The 707 Hub is Marquette University’s innovation incubator; a place where ideas are shared, stretched, challenged and realized. It is home to the Kohler Center for Entrepreneurship and the Social Innovation Initiative. 

ABOUT Brady Corporation

Brady Corporation is an international manufacturer and marketer of complete solutions that identify and protect people, products and places. Brady’s products help customers increase safety, security, productivity and performance and include high-performance labels, signs, safety devices, printing systems and software. Brady is headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and as of July 31, 2018, employed approximately 6,200 people in its worldwide businesses. Brady’s fiscal 2018 sales were approximately $1.17 billion. Brady stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol BRC. More information is available at Brady Foundation supports not-for-profit organizations in the communities where Brady employees live and work by supporting projects that align with the Brady values of unlocking potential, protecting our future or differentiating through innovation and that focus on developing leadership, strengthening communities and educational programming.

About Anne Broeker

Anne Broeker

Anne is a communication specialist in the Office of Marketing and Communication. Contact Anne at (414) 288-7536 or