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Students win first place at Business Week event with life-saving technology for firefighters

Apr 12, 2019
by Jayda Barnes, '20

Sport management major Blake Richardson, ’20, and business major Jaydie Allen, ’20, took first place at Business Week competition Lion’s Cage with their product EaseAwake, a device meant to alleviate stress levels in firefighters.

Business Week is an annual event at Flagler College that allows students to showcase their entrepreneurial skills in a series of panels, dinners and competitions. This year’s theme was “Responsible Capitalism: Conscientious Business Leaders Building a Better World.” From March 4-7, students engaged in professional discussion and pitched their products in competitions. The final round of these competitions was Lion’s Cage, in which finalists from earlier in the week compete for cash prizes.

This year’s winner of Lion's Cage, EaseAwake, is a smart band designed to alert firefighters with a gentle vibration five seconds before a station alarm sounds. Richardson, whose father is a firefighter, designed the product after learning the leading cause of death for on-duty firefighters is a heart attack resulting from stress and overexertion. With its gentle alert system, Richardson believes EaseAwake is the perfect product to improve sleeping conditions and mitigate stress level spikes for on-duty firefighters. EaseAwake would be provided to firefighters as part of their uniform, created with reliability, efficiency and durability in mind.

Richardson has participated in Business Week twice before, but this is his first time placing in the top three. Encouraged by Professor Holanchock, Richardson decided to pitch EaseAwake and gained the support of Jaydie Allen, who participated in Business Week for the first time this year. The pair interviewed firefighters and researched extensively in preparation for the competition.

“The Business Week activities Dr. Roberts and Professor Holanchock set up for us allowed us to become more skilled in researching, presenting and improving our overall professionalism,” said Allen.

Up next for Richardson is obtaining an LLC, trademark and patent for the name and idea of EaseAwake. Through his website, Richardson intends to garner support while he develops a prototype to take to fire departments for tests. He hopes to distribute to firefighters as soon as the product is ready and welcomes any information or advice from anyone with experience developing a similar idea.

“I truly believe that this product has the capability to save lives,” said Richardson. “I am passionate about making it available to as many firefighters as possible.”

Richardson also placed in the top five at the Frank and Ellen Daveler Entrepreneurship Program, an entrepreneurship competition for undergraduate upperclassman in the state of Florida, held at the University of South Florida Center for Entrepreneurship on April 6. He was one of 20 fellows selected for the program and received a prize of $5000 for placing in the top five. He hopes to use the recognition and funding to further his business idea.

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