Student entrepreneurs vie for $44,000

March 21, 2022

Spartan Engineers qualify for Burgess New Venture Challenge

Three teams of student entrepreneurs from the Michigan State University College of Engineering will vie for $44,000 in top scholarship prizes in this year’s Burgess New Venture Challenge (BNVC). The annual competition highlights top student entrepreneurs from Michigan State University's growing venture creation ecosystem.

MSU's premier pitch competition is set for 4-8 p.m. on Thursday, April 7, at the Graduate Hotel in East Lansing. A total of 15 semifinalist teams will compete in the fourth annual contest hosted by the Burgess Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

2022 Burgess New Venture Challenge semifinalists
The Spartan Engineers are Ethan Hopp (top, second left), Jason Israilov (bottom center) and Shreesha Maddur (bottom far right).

"The Burgess New Venture Challenge is more than a competition," said Ken Szymusiak, managing director of academic programs for the Burgess Institute. "This is high-stakes experiential learning. These 15 semifinalists must prove their ideas are viable, the market demands their solutions, and, ultimately, their value propositions hold up to scrutiny."

The Spartan Engineering teams competing are:

Empyre Webs
Applicant: Jason Israilov (, Computer Science and Engineering

Empyre Webs is a software/web development firm tackling the problem of streamlining communication between clients and developers by consolidating information onto a centralized and integrated CMS.

Spartan Miners
Applicant: Ethan Hopp (, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Spartan Miners is a better solution to cryptocurrency mining and expanding your mining power. We have created a sleek, closed-design computer case meant to replace your desktop PC so you can play games, go to class/work, and make money simultaneously.

Applicant: Shreesha Maddur (, Computer Science and Engineering

TalleyJobs is a job board website that solves the inconvenience, repetitiveness, and significant time commitment of the job searching process by automating and optimizing it through a matchmaking algorithm.

Read more on all 15 teams in this year’s challenge here.

The Burgess Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation empowers students to learn through action by providing programs, courses, and resources to foster an entrepreneurial mindset, develop empathy, and create new ventures. The program is designed to prime students to embrace failure mindfully, explore unknowns, and develop skills that matter. Find out more at