Biomedical Engineer Finds Entrepreneurial Success at Haslam
WHAT BEGAN WITH a sports injury ultimately launched Lia Winter’s (HCB, ’19) career as an entrepreneur.
After tearing her hamstring while playing soccer, and later witnessing her mother’s experience with repeated surgeries to repair a torn ACL, Winter began researching orthopedic medicine. This led her to design her first medical innovation device, EasyWhip. The two-part detachable needle is designed for use in orthopedic reconstruction surgeries.
While enrolled in the MS–MBA business administration and biomedical engineering program in the Haslam College of Business and the Tickle College of Engineering, Winter continued to develop a plan for EasyWhip.
Working closely with the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, she founded her company, Winter Innovations. Through endowed pitch competitions hosted by the Anderson Center, Winter won $30,000 to build her startup. She worked with center advisors to develop her business plan and intellectual property protection, along with perfecting her business pitch for national business plan competitions.
“The mentors with the Anderson Center have been our biggest fans, toughest critics, and an all-around amazing resource for all of our business needs,” says Winter. “Knoxville has such an amazing ecosystem of entrepreneurial support, and I am so honored to be a part of it.”
After graduating this year, Winter was accepted to the ZeroTo510 medical innovation accelerator program in Memphis where her company is preparing documentation and conducting necessary testing to file for regulatory clearance with the FDA.
“I am so grateful to everyone at UT who helped by introducing me to their connections, providing feedback on my product and business plan, and supporting our team with words of encouragement as we move forward,” Winter says.