UofL chemical engineering student seeks win at Venture Sharks


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A fledgling manufacturing company led by University of Louisville chemical engineering student Amelia Gandara won the recent Startup Weekend Louisville and will compete in this week’s Venture Sharks event.

    Gandara’s company, EcoHarbor, plans to produce and distribute decorative kitchen tiles made from recycled materials. She and her team have two letters of intent from local retailers that want to carry the products and a relationship with Rosa Mosaic, a local flooring manufacturer that is interested in the commercial applications of the technology.

    EcoHarbor was known as Me You Blue when it won last month’s Startup Weekend, a competition where budding entrepreneurs, coders and technology experts get together between Friday evening and Sunday evening to create a marketable product.

    Gandara’s five-minute pitch to judges was good enough to beat out 13 other teams at Startup Weekend. First prize assured EcoHarbor of a bid in the Venture Sharks competition, where it will vie for up to $10,000 in cash and prizes.

    EcoHarbor is competing against 11 other teams in the Venture Sharks semifinals, which are scheduled April 16-17 at The Nucleus, 300 E. Market St. Finalists will square off May 7 at the monthly Venture Connectors meeting, held downtown at the Muhammad Ali Center.

    Competitors include TheraBracelet, a team of four UofL MBA students marketing a wristband designed to help stroke patients.

    “I am looking forward to presenting a product that merges both the engineering and artistic sides of my mind,” Gandara said of the Venture Sharks event.

    A native of Yuma, Ariz., Gandara will complete her bachelor’s degree in May at UofL’s J.B. Speed School of Engineering and plans to begin work on her master’s degree this summer. She also is working at the university’s Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research. Gandara was Miss UofL 2013.