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Dec. 6, 2022

Two student tech founders selected as 2022 Kelly A. Ford Technology Award recipients

The Burgess Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation is proud to announce that Adam Green (College of Law, ‘23) and Vigneshwer Ramamoorthi (Engineering, ‘23) are this year’s recipients of the Kelly A. Ford Technology Award. Green and Ramamoorthi are recognized for their academic success and commitment to their tech-based entrepreneurial ventures.

Kelly Ford (Communications, ’94) established the scholarship because of her passion for the Burgess Institute’s work. She wishes to support the next generation of Spartan entrepreneurs.

Ford’s financial commitment to entrepreneurship education at Michigan State is only one part of her active role within the ecosystem.

At the start of fall semester 2021, Ford, along with twelve fellow Spartan alums, joined the Burgess Institute as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence. In this two-year volunteer role, she regularly connects with an assigned cohort of student venturers to provide guidance, support, and industry-specific insights as a dedicated mentor.

“I admire the work of the team at the Burgess Institute,” said Ford, “and I’m passionate about doing what I can to foster student success and the entrepreneurial spirit at Michigan State. My hope is, together, we’re ultimately strengthening the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Michigan, the Midwest, and beyond.”

Ford, a former tech industry executive turned general partner and chief operating officer at Edison Partners, is no stranger to promising innovators and their products. She recognizes Green and Ramamoorthi as leaders in MSU’s innovation community.

Entrepreneurship and company-building are all about intersections and alignment between top talent and subject matter experts, said Ford. “I look forward to seeing, and hopefully funding, more student ventures that leverage a broader base of university resources to advance and commercialize their ideas.”

Established in 2021, the Kelly A. Ford Technology Scholarship is intended to encourage students who have demonstrated the capacity to achieve educational and professional goals, the motivation to achieve them, and the initiative to seek opportunities to further their startups’ progress. Both Green and Ramamoorthi are awarded a scholarship of $5,000.

Adam Green, a third year MSU Law student, is the founder of UniServices, an online service where users hire local college students to assist them in a wide range of odd jobs and tasks. The UniServices app hosts over 1,500 users, expanding to colleges across America. Green’s mission is to serve local community members with top-tier service while providing financial opportunity for college students seeking flexible schedules.

“We are working hard on expanding UniServices into a nationwide marketplace for all things that college students could need,” said Green. “We are looking to multiple new expansion ideas to partner directly with universities and localities to make UniServices a hometown hero and nationwide brand for promoting students and strengthening community bonds.”

Vigneshwer Ramamoorthi, Electrical Engineering senior, is the founder of Paradigm AR, a unified augmented reality platform allowing developers across the world to create their AR-based applications. His goal is to connect the digital and physical world together using advanced wearable technology. Ramamoorthi’s leading development is pair of AR glasses that can connect to smartphones, allowing users to create advanced contextualized environments using data.

Ramamoorthi has his sights set on the future of technology. “We believe in a face-wearable future for the post-smartphone era,” he said. “We are working towards a future where AR glasses would be replacing your smartphone and pushing the envelope in the personal mobile computing space.”

The Burgess Institute's programs and resources allow student venturers to build their skills, hone their entrepreneurial mindset, and gain the tools necessary for reaching their goals. As students within the Launch Program at MSU, Green and Ramamoorthi’s ventures are fully funded by the Burgess Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Since it’s inception in 2021, UniServices has achieved success through many programs and events. Green won the Detroit Global Student Entrepreneur Awards Regional Competition, allowing the company to be chosen as one of six teams to represent the USA at the GSEA Global Finals. Green has attended and placed in multiple pitch competitions across Michigan, including the 2021 Burgess New Venture Challenge.

This summer, Ramamoorthi spent six weeks in the Burgess Institute’s Momentum Pre-Accelerator Program. The six-week pre-accelerator provides additional financial and mentorship resources, advancing MSU-based student startup teams and preparing them for more intensive accelerators. Ramamoorthi has found guidance working with tech-focused mentor, James Pita, one of the Burgess Institute’s Entrepreneurs-in-Residence.

Green will use his scholarship earnings towards marketing materials and technology upkeep and innovation to meet the needs of the student and residential communities that use UniServices. “My team and I have been working extremely hard to ensure that we can produce an excellent product that would make MSU proud,” said Green. “This award is an incredible recognition of our work, motivating us to work even harder.”

Ramamoorthi is using his scholarship to push fundraising to begin product development. In Paradigm AR’s early stage, Ramamoorthi is aiming to secure partnerships between multiple corporations to advance the future of his technology.

“Burgess has a lot to do with my journey as an entrepreneur,” Ramamoorthi said. “It’s an amazing resource hub for everything one needs to start a company and make a difference in the world. The Burgess Institute is a huge win-win for students like me.”

This story originally ran on the Burgess Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation website.

By: Aaryn Richard and John Hart