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A year ago, Dr. Michael G. Spencer who has more than 20 patents in solar cell technology among other things, wrote that too many successful startups are the result of luck.

“We need to Engineer Innovation,” Spencer said in an op-ed for USBE Online.

Since that blog, Dr. Spencer has continued to explore American innovation, global competitiveness, and engineering education, as more students at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are making prototypes of their creations, and sparking the entrepreneurial spirit to provide next-generation jobs.

This week, Hampton University announced that a group of students and alumni at the historically black college have started a company using repurposed NASA technology to revolutionize the way solar is collected.

The huge payoff came about because of an exciting challenge.

Last year, Hampton University President William R. Harvey introduced Professor Oliver Jones to the founder of the Institute for Local Innovations.

The New Orleans-based Institute for Local Innovations, in partnership with the NASA Technology Transfer Office, brings a High-Impact Practice to students at HBCUs through the annual Technology Implementation Market Engine (T.I.M.E.) Challenge.

The student engagement program invites individuals or teams of HBCU students to participate in high-level science, technology, engineering, math (STEM), and entrepreneurial activities. Students also receive mentoring from experts, aimed at helping to increase their skills for the job market.

Dr. Jones chose the strongest team of students from a wide selection of Hampton applicants, and they presented their concept in front of the T.I.M.E. panel.

“Because of Generators Inc.’s success, we now have 90 plus HU (Hampton University) visionaries who’ve submitted to the 2018 T.I.M.E Challenge,” Jones said.

One of Generators Inc’s goals is to tackle energy efficiency and transfer this technology to Puerto Rico, Jamaica and other Caribbean islands that suffered from hurricane damage.

“Though there are yet many steps to take to become a successful company, I believe in the mission of Generators Inc., and I am sure that people will soon learn about us,” Mitaishvili said.

“Here at this institution of higher learning, we encourage our students to find their passion and create something great along the way. These students have done just that,” said Hampton University President Harvey.

In the photo above are left to right: Dr. Oliver Jones (academic advisor), Peter Odegbami, Mariam Mitaishvili, Alexis Morgan, Alexis Darko, and Andrew Gray.

Generators Inc. is owned by Andrew Gray (chief marketing officer), Miriam Mitaishvili (chief operating officer), Peter Odegeami (chief financial officer), and Alexis Morgan (chief executive officer).

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