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Catapult Creative House Celebrates a Successful Year

The Douglas C. Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Catapult Creative House at Southeast Missouri State University celebrated entrepreneurship with two competitions and new online and studio launches. 

In September 2017 Catapult Creative House announced the launch of their online store featuring unique Made in Missouri and student made products and artwork. The online store launched on Sept. 14, 2017 with 146 products ranging from color books, magnets and cards to apparel, jewelry and custom print T-shirts from collections found in store at The Shoppe @ Catapult and the Catapult Press. “The online store at Catapult will allow us to reach a larger audience, travel with our Catapult Editions prints to sell at conferences like Southern Graphics Council Conference and the Mid America Print Council Conference, and give students practice at listing items, packing and shipping, and online marketing for art,” said Hannah Sanders, assistant professor of art and lead faculty for Catapult Press. “Today’s consumers expect an online sales platform from retailers of all sizes. Retailers operating solely online with no brick and mortar storefront, is also a major industry trend,” said Allie Helfrich, instructor of Fashion and Consumer Studies and lead faculty for the Shoppe. While only two of Catapult Creative House student run businesses are currently selling online, more areas are scheduled to follow soon, such as the Catapult Gallery and Pop Up Shop. To view available product and shop online, visit Catapult’s online store at 

Catapult Creative House computer lab


On Wednesday, March 21, Catapult Creative House launched its new computing stations workspace for tech inspired student entrepreneurs. The launched featured a presentation by Microsoft’s Chad Lich and Alex Zisser, both Southeast graduates, who discussed “Digital Transformation.” The computing stations are located on Catapult’s first floor in room 102 with direct access to a 3D printer. “Students can come in and work on their own personal business and start-up ideas,” said Leah Powers, operations manager at Catapult Creative House. “This allows them a direct work stations with all the resources for app development and more. Its location and connection to the Douglas C. Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Catapult Creative House also offers students additional support while developing their business with an opportunity to launch with our existing resources and the University’s support.” The idea for the space grew from interest expressed by computer science students who worked in Catapult’s former computer labs. Because they needed a specific set of programs and software unavailable at Catapult until now, efforts began to create the new tech area. Dr. Sumanth Yenduri, chair of the Department of Computer Science, said, “The Department of Computer Science is very excited about this new beginning. I am looking forward for both students and faculty to connect and utilize the various opportunities available at Catapult.” At the launch more than fifteen students were using the space. One of those students is Mathuran Suriyakimaran, a computer information systems major from Sri Lanka who has been using the current space to develop a prediction website for carGO to determine how many drivers are needed in, for instance, the next five or 30 minutes. CarGO is an on-demand ride hailing service in Cape Girardeau. Faizel Khan, a computer science major from India, is another frequent user of the space. He and his friends are working on a startup concept, and they meet at Catapult to share their ideas. They have contacted professionals in various fields to get feedback on their idea, and are now moving forward with their business plan and development of a mobile app for their business, he said. 

As a part of Global Entrepreneurship week Catapult Creative House and the Douglas C. Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship held the annual Southeast Innovation Challenge. Students submitted 23 innovations which would in some way improve future students’ campus experience at Southeast. The top 3 teams presented their ideas to the campus and team of judges on November 15, 2017 followed by guest speaker Anders Tjernlund, a Southeast alumnus, co-founder and chief operating officer of Swiftstack, Inc. Originally from Sweden, Tjernlund started with highlights from his time at Southeast and his early work experience.  

Attendees of the event were able to vote for a People’s Choice Award given alongside the first, second, and third place prizes. First place and People’s Choice Award:  Cape-Ability – Isaac Nash, a business administration major from Jackson, Missouri; and Jackie Wiles, a management major, entrepreneurship option, from Farmington, Missouri.  

Isaac Nash – First Place and People’s Choice Award winner

Cape-Ability is a proposal for campus-wide mental health empowerment, including the renaming of Counseling and Disability Services, increasing mental health awareness and training, and encouraging the use of support networks. Also proposed was the creation of an app, texting, and web-chat-based service for support and professional advice and to increase peer support networks. 

Second place:  The Mural Project – Micah Cocco, an art major from Normal, Illinois; and Emalea Rieckhoff, a corporate communication major from Windsor, Missouri. The Mural Project is a proposal to beautify a highly visible part of campus – the north wall of the boiler plant that faces Scully and the sand volleyball courts — while serving as a new tradition for insert Mural project.jpg students. Rieckhoff and Cocco worked together to create The Mural Project, which proposes converting it into a place to showcase student art and the University’s history through murals. 

Third place: Redhawk Research Perch – Ian Cameron, a history major from Cape Girardeau; Sonali Chilupuri, a computer science major from India; Shubroto Shuvo, a computer insert Redhawk Research.jpg science major from Dhaka, Bangladesh; and James Waltz, a psychology major from Cape Girardeau. The Redhawk Research Perch is a proposal to create an online forum where professors and students can post research projects aimed at facilitating collaboration between students and faculty. The Redhawks Research Perch would create a search forum as an extension to, allowing faculty to post research projects they are working in an effort to recruit undergraduate students to apply as assistants. 

For more information on the Southeast Innovation Challenge and to view each team’s executive summary visit 

Catapult Creative House and the Douglas C. Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship offered Southeast students the opportunity to pitch a business idea LIVE to a team of judges as a part of the Southeast Startup Pitch Competition. Judges narrowed the submissions down to the top 5 pitches, allowing the students to present LIVE to the judges on May 2, 2018. The competition offered students the unique opportunity to pitch and receive live feedback from a team of judges just as if they were presenting their pitch to a team of investors.  

First place went to Wesley Lukasek and Whitley Bieser with Creation for Communication. Creation for Communication offers virtual speech-language pathology services, providing a standardized, motivating program for our clients, with objective data for insurance attraction. Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) have to endure overwhelming caseloads. 

Second place went to Anthony Franco, Carlos Ramirez, and Kade Fleming for Studdy Buddy. Studdy Buddy is a unique solution to bring college students together and increase grades. By pairing students through shared classes and encouraging them to study together, college students will socialize more and increase overall grade scores. The app will use local businesses for advertising purpose while keeping a personal atmosphere for the app. 

Third place when to Emily Stansbury for Good Boy Vending. Good Boy Vending offers vending machines with pet care items available for purchase directly inside. These vending machines would include any item a pet owner may need while out on a walk. Machines could be placed in parks, baseball fields, and near pet friendly stores. Also, these machines would be available for access 24/7. 

For more information on the Southeast Startup Pitch Competition and to view each team’s executive summary visit 

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