As the winners of the Kabara Institute’s 2019 Elevator Pitch Competition, students Caily Landers and Isabel Bettag knew they were onto something. Their idea, Calm Connect, using personal imagery to create a calming environment for children in hospital settings, was extremely well received by the university judges. Following their win, they decided to move forward with the idea, enlisting myself and professor Matt Klosky from the Business Department as advisers.

Fast forward six months, and by March they had refined their idea of pairing an app and a small projector in order to upload and project personal photos onto the wall or ceiling of a hospital room to calm down or reassure a lonely child. They then applied to the Assistive Tech Challenge run by the Destination Medical Center in Rochester, Minn. After acceptance to that competition, they also applied to the E1 Ignite Cup, a regional competition out of Red Wing, Minn., where they were once again accepted to pitch their idea. With the emergence of COVID-19 and strict rules for hospital visitors, this idea has taken on an urgency to move forward and address the needs of isolated patients.

Further, with the shift to a new normal of social distancing, both competitions are currently going online this year. On Thursday, May 7, Landers and Bettag will pitch their business of Calm Connect at the E1 Ignite Cup via Zoom. The presentations and judging will take place from 5 to 7 p.m.

As a result of going digital, the entire Saint Mary’s University community is welcome to register for this free event and watch from home. If you are able to join, there will be a crowd favorite voting event, and it would be wonderful to show our support for these two students!

If you have any questions or need help registering, please email me at cbeech@smumn.edu.

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