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Budding Entrepreneurs Tackle Real-World Problems at Second Annual Iona Innovation Challenge

With $6,000 in cash prizes up for grabs, Iona College students put their most entrepreneurial ideas to the test as they competed in the second annual Iona Innovation Challenge hosted by the Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation on May 1. Facing
a panel of judges, participating students pitched ideas that tackled real-world problems. Student teams worked in one of three tracks:

  • Business Ventures: ideas driven by value creation through economic returns;
  • Social Entrepreneurship: ideas driven by social change;
  • Technology Innovations: ideas driven by technological innovations.

“We are building a program that gives students across all schools and disciplines an opportunity to explore their entrepreneurial potential, allowing them to take ownership of their learning and put themselves at the center of their success,” said Christoph Winkler, Ph.D., endowed professor and founding program director.

The process for the competitors included three milestones: a 30-second pitch, a 1,000-word executive summary, and a 10-slide pitch deck, as well as attendance at workshops on ideation, business modeling, pitch prep and more. Students also engaged with mentors and local entrepreneurs throughout the challenge.

“Today, we are excited to hear from the finalists, the nine teams that have come this far and put in the effort to get to where they are,” said Lendynette Pacheco-Jorge, assistant director.

Winners display their checks.
Iona College students put their most entrepreneurial ideas to the test as they competed in the second annual Iona Innovation Challenge hosted by the Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation on May 1.

The judges for the evening included: James P. Hynes ’69, ’01H; Anne Marie Hynes, Esq.; Danielle Butin, MPH, OTR; Sean O’Shea ’13; and provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs Darrell Wheeler, Ph.D., MPH, ACSW. Judges listened to four-minute pitches, which were followed by a Q&A. The final pitches were judged on eight criteria: feasibility, uniqueness, market need, impact, cost of implementation, ease of implementation, idea articulation and overall impression.

Business Venture Track
FIRST PLACE – $1,000
SHOTCA: A digital socioeconomic marketplace merging innovative technology with the lucrative online art market.
Raymond Carapella ’20, Anthony Danial ’20, Rushabh Singh ’21, Jonathan Valle ’20
Social Entrepreneurship Track
FIRST PLACE – $1,000
Entrepreneurial Adventure Camp: Design thinking camp accelerating entrepreneurship education.
Lisbeth Baez ’20, Sabita Dhanpaul ’20
Technology Innovations Track
FIRST PLACE – $1,000
Generation Access: An app that conducts hair assessments and matches users with products for their hair type.
Maimouna Mbacke ’20

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