McMillon Innovation Studio Contest Kicks Off

Last spring's winners in the McMillon Innovation Studio contest.
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Last spring's winners in the McMillon Innovation Studio contest.

The McMillon Innovation Studio's fall 2017 contest where University of Arkansas students can win $15,000 kicks off Wednesday, Sept. 13.

The contest, conducted in concert with DataNinja of Bentonville, begins at 5 p.m. in room RCED 103 of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for Enterprise Development on the U of A campus. The competition is open to all University of Arkansas students.

The contest challenges students to devise a solution for pulling together information from many different sources — local news sites, social media and other online sources that influence shoppers' decision making — to discover why certain items are selling or not selling in specified locations.

"Everyone has heard of big data," said Sean Nicholas, DataNinja's chief executive officer. "We want to add purpose and precision to make it actionable data."

Clint Johnson, director of the McMillon Innovation Studio, said he hoped student solutions would go beyond the usual "what" and "where" of analytics and supply the "why."

"This is a contest that challenges students from all disciplines and majors," Johnson said. "Business, engineering, arts and sciences — everyone has something to contribute to this kind of solution."

Coaching sessions for competing teams will be held throughout the fall, with judging set for November by DataNinja, local entrepreneurs and StartupJunkie of Northwest Arkansas.


Clint Johnson, director
McMillon Innovation Studio

David Speer, director of communications
Sam M. Walton College of Business


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