New Entrepreneurs Grant

Lilie New Entrepreneurs Grant for Incoming Freshman

Lilie New Entrepreneurs Grant allows incoming students an opportunity to apply for seed funding to turn innovative ideas into reality. The grant gives an exceptionally entrepreneurial Rice student(s) in each entering class the resources to develop an early stage idea or entrepreneurial undertaking during their study. As an additional resource for grant winners, Lilie has partnered with the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen (OEDK) to provide space and resources at the OEDK for prototyping (which is typically an exclusive resource for Engineering majors).

The grant winner (s) can use the funds to support the design and growth of their project throughout their Rice undergraduate career, with the support of Lilie-connected faculty, mentors, entrepreneurship courses, and programs. This is your chance to compete for a grant that will launch your entrepreneurship education at Rice.


The Highlights:

Who Can Apply?

  • Only incoming freshmen are may apply for the grant.
  • The applicant must have been accepted into Rice University as a first-year student beginning Fall 2021.
  • The applicant must have paid their tuition deposit to Rice University by the deadline determined by the Admission Office guidelines.

How to Apply:

  • Application opens during the Spring and will be shared on our website.
  • You will be expected to upload an entrepreneurial highlight from your background, a pitch about a preliminary idea, and more information about yourself.
  • Winners will be announced no later than July 31st.
  • If you have any questions, please contact

2020 Runner Up Projects

My project consists of a mechanism for an effective disinfectant delivery in classrooms- an automatic desk sanitizing dispenser that is programmed in sync with the school bell system – Mina Ghayour, Bioengineering

In an effort to halt increasing air pollution, Richard Chan intends to create a commercially viable carbon-activated filter attachment for vehicles that absorbs VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) from the air during everyday transportation. – Richard Chan, Bioengineering

My idea is to create a talk show that combines aspects of Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s SpaceTalk and Mythbusters to create a new sort of young feel that allows for us to connect to the next generation of STEM Majors, Astronauts, or even just people who like to be fascinated with science in general. – Damian Gonzalez, Mechanical Engineering

The Chck is a new system for restaurant management/point of sale that combines modern technology with classic values. – Luke Stancil, Electrical Engineering

A project using the latest technology in computer science to replace the expensive human labor in the college admission process, which has further social benefit of improving the fairness of the admission decisions. – Charlie Liu, Computer Science

Leggings that you can adjust the inside of to help relieve sore muscles. Think KT tape meets adjust-ability in the form of pants. – Sydney Rodman, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

To research and develop personalized music as a medical treatment for the emotional symptoms of children with cognitive impairments. – Sahana Prasanna, Social Sciences

A sustainable fashion line utilizing hand-loom weaving to promote cultural diversity. – Devika Jhaveri, Social Sciences

I want to build a robot that can wash your clothes, dishes, and take out your trash, and to do anything you teach it to do! – Bruce Xu, Music

2019 Recipient

Ananda Nadigam

is from the Rio Grande Valley, the southernmost tip of Texas and is a member of Hanszen College. Ananda has kept herself busy throughout high school with being president of her school’s Astronomy Club, Vice-President of the Community Service Club, and Historian of her school’s chapter of Pan-American Student Forum (PASF). Her competitive streak is highlighted by her various awards in CX Debate meets, PASF competitions, and Math UIL. Outside of school, Ananda spends her time volunteering at her local hospital, library, nature center, Boys & Girls Club, and tutoring her peers in maths and science. During her senior year, Ananda led a team of four fellow students to develop a functioning prototype that defends the lungs against Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia (VAP). When they presented their final solution at the Engineering Design and Development competition, they won first place. Ananda aspires to take this prototype to the next level and prevent the deadly and costly illness of VAP.

2019 Runner Up Projects

An inexpensive augmented-reality device that would be easy enough to use to become our day-to-day interface with technology – Aedan Cullen, Computer Science

A reverse-vending machine that segregates waste efficiently and incentivizes people to recycle – Aman Shanbhag, Engineering & Fadil Eledath, Computer Science

A wearable device that will gather information from the user’s movements to interact with virtual reality and other devices – Charan Santhirasegaran, Biological Sciences

A phone application that engages users in writing, sharing and sending legislation that will modernize public political involvement – Christa Westheimer, Social Sciences

A long-range vehicle tracker that will help people find their vehicle no matter how far away it is – Julia Shi, Social Sciences

A company that sells canvases, prints, and clothing that displays her best photographs, original poems, and quotes – Kourtney Kanja, Biochemistry and Cell Biology

A pop socket-like design that acts as a wireless charger and a smart wearable that allows users to track changes in their physical shape over time – Myles Nobles, Biochemistry and Cell Biology

A self-customizable clothing platform that will create decentralized and sustainable fashion – Nasha Wanich, Computer Science

An internet-connected system that is designed to detect and monitor electronic cigarette usage in schools – Noah Rossi, Computer Science

An improved application management tool for institutions that assist in workflow, training, measurement, and outcome analysis using predictive analytics  – Sarah Herring, Humanities


2018 Recipient

Mantej Singh

is from Singapore and is a member of Rice’s Class of 2022 where he is studying Computer Science. He’s a member of Duncan College and is a proud Duncaroo! Mantej has varied interests and was part of his soccer and cross-country team in high school and he also founded the Young Entrepreneurs Society during his time there. He loves tinkering with electronics and frequently breaks things apart without knowing how to put them back together. Mantej is immensely passionate about fusing medicine and technology to empower human health. At Rice, he is currently developing a wearable glove that converts Sign language into spoken English so that Deaf/Mute people can communicate with anyone in society thus empowering them. Mantej loves to goof off as well and loves to tell his friends lame jokes. When not at Duncan, Mantej is probably exploring the Houston area for quaint cafes where he can fuel his coffee addiction while he reads dystopian novels. You can learn more about Mantej’s endeavours at

2017 Recipients

Joycelyn Yiu

is from Plano, Texas. She resides at Martel College and is studying biological sciences. She has pursued a variety of interests in her high school career, from playing on the drumline to organizing community service activities. Most passionate about innovation, she enjoys the cutting-edge research opportunities and learning experiences offered in the lab and has won the Third Grand Award in Chemistry at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. She hopes to continue to develop her passion through entrepreneurship at Rice and make improvements for health science technologies in the future. In her free time, Joycelyn loves to maintain goldfish aquariums. You can learn more about her at

2017 Recipients

Mahima Tatam

was born in the small town of Crystal River in Citrus County, Florida.  Like any true Floridian, she enjoys activities such as snorkeling, hiking, and swimming. A competitive tennis player, Mahima led her high school varsity team to states as team captain.  She has also been playing the piano for over ten years and enjoys playing the Beatles, Disney Classics, and even modern pop.  Mahima has always had a love for the medical field, and showed it by volunteering in hospitals, playing piano in nursing homes, and being president of her high school MedShare club, which collects usable but unwanted medical supplies and redistributes them to clinics in need globally.  Her new goal is to combine her two academic passions: medical care and social entrepreneurship, which she plans to achieve through her current project, MedExchange.  Mahima is ready to bring her passions for medicine, music, tennis, and entrepreneurship (and Disney World) to Houston.

2016 Recipients

Anthony Cho

was born in small city in South Korea called Pohang. He was raised in Houston, Texas where he has pursued a variety of interests ranging from gardening to breakdancing. His greatest interest, however, has always been in creating. He has developed CAD designs, a satellite calibration program, android applications, websites, circuits, robots, and the like.  He is also passionate about entrepreneurship. In addition to the NEG, he won $1,000 from Rice’s Annual Undergraduate Elevator Pitch Competition for his idea. He is involved in the Rice entrepreneurship community and is always looking to participate in events such as the Houston 3 Day Start Up. You can learn more about him and his projects at

2016 Recipients

Namanh Kapur

resides at Duncan College majoring in computer science. An Indian citizen by birth, Namanh has lived in 7 different countries – Indonesia, Angola, Nigeria, Singapore, the United States, Brazil, and France – and speaks 4 languages – English, Hindi, French, and Portuguese. A globally aware individual, he appreciates diversity, has a passion for problem-solving, and seeks to connect the world through sustainable technology. For these reasons, he enjoys participating in ‘hackathons’. In these mystical events, where coders thrive on 24+ hours of no sleep and constant work, he has actively contributed to two Android app projects, a VR simulation, and a hardware device. Namanh enjoys longboarding, performing magic tricks, and watching inspirational, true-story movies. He aspires to one day start his own company.  A list of his projects can be found on his website