Business Innovation Group (BIG)
College of Business

Ocean Exchange Announces Winner of 2017 BIG Pitch Collegiate Award of $10,000

The seventh annual Ocean Exchange, hosted last week in Savannah, Georgia, featured the third year of the BIG Pitch Award, sponsored by Georgia Southern University, the College of Business Administration, and the Business Innovation Group.

Pipeguard Robotics, a team from MIT, won this year’s $10,000 BIG Pitch Award.  The Pipeguard Robotics solution inspects water pipes from the inside using innovations in sensor membranes and the soft body drone to find leaks long before they become catastrophic, with the objective to reduce the 20 percent of clean water production daily lost to leaks.

Dr. Allen Amason, Dean of the College of Business Administration at Georgia Southern University, commented after the award was announced.

“It’s an elegant and practical solution to a vexing and widespread problem. I salute Pipeguard Robotics for their innovation and their hard work; they are going to save their clients a lot of fresh water, as well as a lot of money. I also salute the Ocean Exchange and all the participants in this year’s event. We are happy to be involved.”

In addition to the winning grant recipient, seven additional collegiate innovators presented sustainable solutions to a distinguished group of conference guests representing business and industry, entrepreneurs, academia, government and NGOs. Schools represented in the finalist round were from Arizona State, Columbia, Cornell, MIT, Oregon State, Rutgers, and University of Texas-Austin with solutions for precision agriculture, risk management for hydrology, waste heat to energy, water conservation in power generation, wind energy, and energy storage.

Each year, the Ocean Exchange seeks innovative, proactive and globally scalable sustainable solutions with working prototypes and applications that can cross industries, economies and cultures, in a competitive process in which two $100,000 and one $10,000 awards are granted to early stage companies.

The Business Innovation Group (BIG) at Georgia Southern University, located in downtown Statesboro, Georgia, is the business outreach arm of the University, committed to developing a vibrant entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem for the southeast region. BIG provides resources for students and entrepreneurs to gain skills and training necessary to understand business principles, experience how businesses operate, and successfully launch new enterprises.

Georgia Southern University, a public Carnegie Doctoral/Research University founded in 1906, offers 118 degree programs serving 20,673 students. Through eight colleges, the University offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs built on more than a century of academic achievement. Georgia Southern is recognized for its student-centered and hands-on approach to education. Visit

For more information and a listing of major sponsors please visit or contact She can be reached at 912-257-0209.

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