ChE Student Wins Global Impact Award for Entrepreneurship
ChE student Vidhan Bhaiya, E’21, and Danny Jooyoung Kim, PharmD’21, won the Global Impact Award at the Schulze Entrepreneurship Challenge. Their business submission was Dr. Brinsely, a footwear manufacturer for diabetics that combine medical performance with chic style. E-Fest is a celebration of entrepreneurship in which 25 student ventures are selected each year to compete, collaborate, and grow. In this photo Danny and Vidhan are accepting their award from the CEO of Best Buy, Hubert Joly. More about the challenge.
Improving Lives Through Entrepreneurship
Start-up company Dr. Brinsley has come a long way in its short existence. The brainchild of chemical engineering student Vidhan Bhaiya, E’21, Dr. Brinsley is a footwear manufacturer catering to diabetics, combining medical performance with chic style. The company was honored at the Schulze Entrepreneurship Challenge, being selected among 25 finalists out of 100 entries across America and winning the Global Impact Award.
The idea first came to Bhaiya, company CEO, during a visit home. “I went to a wedding and my favorite uncle didn’t want to get up from his table or be in any photographs,” says Bhaiya. My father told me he had been diagnosed with diabetic neuropathy and hadn’t been the same since. He went from being flamboyant and stylish to unconfident and uncomfortable. Diabetic footwear currently is ineffective and expensive.”
While Bhaiya had a great idea for a product, it was his partnership with Jooyoung Kim, a pharmacy student, P’22, and vice president of business development for the company, as well as help from the university-wide entrepreneurship programs at Northeastern that helped elevate the company to the next level.
“I was going to become a traditional pharmacist, but I ended up hanging out with engineers and those who were interested in business,” says Jooyoung Kim. “When Vidhan came back from India with this idea in his head, I thought these were important medical conditions we could learn about. Interdisciplinary projects like this require input from so many different fields.”
The two previously met during Welcome Weekend at Northeastern and hit it off immediately due to shared motivations and interests. Thanks to the Sherman Center for Engineering Entrepreneurship Education co-op program, Bhaiya was able to work on their project for his co-op while being paid. On top of the $10,000 that was awarded to them due to their Global Impact Award, the company also received IDEA gap funding on two separate occasions. With all this momentum, they don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.
“We are focusing on ramping up the operation in India,” says Bhaiya. “We are working on a project right now with the largest hospital chain in India. We want to focus on markets like India where there is a high rate of diabetes and [shoes are] expensive.”
Dr. Brinsley is also sold in Singapore, South Africa, Bahrain, with plans for future expansion.
“Northeastern gives us the option to explore this venture even if we come from different disciplines. Having a pharmacy student and engineering student coming together and creating value out of an idea is amazing,” says Bhaiya. “We have so many opportunities that all we have to do is look around to be able to leverage these resources to work on projects.”
Related story: Easy on the eyes. Easier on the feet.