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Published on November 19th, 2015 | by Millennium Magazine Staff


Mr. Penguin Designs Wins $5000 Ignite! Ideas Contest

Pictured: Meghan Hickman, executive director of EngenuitySC and Vincent Felix, Mr. Penguin Designs

Student artist-made cell phone case company wins big at Nov. 18, 2015 entrepreneurship event

(COLUMBIA, S.C.): Mr. Penguin Designs, local student artist-created cell phone case company, was selected via public, online voting as the winner of the $5,000 Ignite! 2015 Ideas Contest, sponsored by SCRA and announced at EngenuitySC’s Ignite! economic competitiveness celebration held at the new University of South Carolina Alumni Center on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015.

The $5,000 award was presented by Meghan Hickman, executive director of EngenuitySC, and Greg Clark, Vice President of Emerging Technologies for SCRA Technology Ventures, the presenting sponsor of the $5,000 Ignite! 2015 Ideas Contest.

Mr. Penguin Designs, founded by current USC student Vincent Felix, partners with local, student artists to create one of a kind, protective cell phone cases, with the mission of helping the students gain exposure for their work while providing them with residual income, via royalties, throughout college.
Mr. Penguin Designs will use the $5,000 Ignite! 2015 Ideas Contest award money to execute their marketing campaign – their biggest unmet need. The company will collaborate with University of South Carolina student media organizations to create an effective communications campaign to reach their target audiences on USC campus, in the Midlands and beyond.

Mr. Penguin Designs was voted as the best idea to move the Midlands forward out of three finalists in the $5,000 Ignite! 2015 Ideas Contest. Fellow finalists were KOIOS, a company, founded by Trey Gordner, developing an Internet browser extension to search public library catalogs; and Vesta, a mobile-driven wedding registry system for local shops vs. big box stores, founded by Heather Bauer.

Voting for the $5,000 Ignite! 2015 Ideas Contest was held solely online this year, at Event guests were able to watch finalist videos and vote online as well, as part of the evening’s program.

EngenuitySC’s Ignite! is the region’s annual celebration of innovation, entrepreneurship and economic competitiveness, bringing together top brass executives, civic leaders, new media mavens, technology wizards, creatives and entrepreneurs for an evening of dynamic, keynote talks by local thought leaders.

Speakers for the evening were food truck entrepreneurs and Oprah’s OWN Network reality TV stars 2 Fat 2 Fly, Ramone Dickerson and Corey Simmons; Aflac Group Insurance VP and COO Dan Lebish; and the co-founders of the Columbia Design League, architects Adrienne Montare and Tom Savory. The event was emceed by Mary King, WIS TV news reporter and anchor.

Guests enjoyed open bar, heavy hors d’oeuvres and an extended networking hour, along with the superb lineup of speakers. The evening was hosted by EngenuitySC Board Founding Co-Chairs Steve Benjamin, Mayor of Columbia, S.C.; Dr. Harris Pastides, President of the University of South Carolina; and Board Chair Dr. Keith Shah, ‎Assistant Vice President of Corporate Planning & Strategic Services at BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina.

Mayor Benjamin and fellow EngenuitySC Board members Paul Livingston, Richland County Councilman, and Johnny Jeffcoat, Chair of Lexington County Council, conducted a moving moment to recognize all of those who have given – and continue to give – their time, talent or treasure for flood relief.

An Anchor Sponsor of Ignite! and the sponsor of the Ignite! 2015 Ideas Contest, SCRA grows the technology-based economy in S.C. by supporting and making investments in early-stage companies and commercializing intellectual property. Multiple economic impact studies show SCRA’s cumulative output into South Carolina’s economy to be over $18.1 billion since 1983.

Other Ignite! 2015 Anchor Sponsors included BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, sponsor of the evening’s bar and catering, and the USC/Columbia Technology Incubator, sponsor of the evening’s extended networking hour. Competitiveness Sponsors were Aflac, McWaters, the University of South Carolina Office of Economic Engagement, Midlands Technical College and Southern Way Catering.

To learn more about Ignite!, visit

Follow the #IgniteCAE hashtag and @EngenuitySC on Twitter, or follow on Facebook:

About EngenuitySC
Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., EngenuitySC is an economic development nonprofit focused on enhancing our region’s competitiveness and prosperity. In partnership with business, government, education and community leaders, EngenuitySC specializes in regional collaboration and project management, the activation of local industry clusters and regional research, analysis and marketing. For more information, visit


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