NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – Iona College's Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation recently completed its inaugural Iona Innovation Challenge, a student entrepreneurship competition awarding $6,000 in prizes. The competition gave students an opportunity to tackle a real-world problem with a unique solution within one of three tracks. Students with ideas driven by value creation through economic returns submitted their ideas within the Business Venture track. Ideas driven by social change and impact were a part of the Social Entrepreneurship track. Students with ideas driven by technological innovations participated in the Technology Innovations track.
The final event kicked off April 26, 2018. The evening began with a welcome by Christoph Winkler, Ph.D., endowed professor and founding program director for the new Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation.
"This competition is a true celebration of the many entry points that Iona students from across many disciplines have to entrepreneurship and innovation," said Dr. Winkler.
He reminded everyone in the room how much programming and progress has occurred since the official opening in just nine months.
Lendynette Pacheco-Jorge, assistant director for curricular & co-curricular programming of the Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, took the stage to share with the audience the two-month journey that students embarked on entering this competition. Their deliverables consisted of three milestones: a 30-second pitch, a 1,000-word executive summary and a 10-slide pitch deck. Throughout the experience students engaged with mentors both in-person and online. With each passing milestone, the competition became tighter: from 23 teams, to 19 teams, to 15 semifinalists and finally concluded with nine teams nominated by mentors to present to judges at the final event.
Vincent J. Calluzzo, Ph.D., Iona provost, had the pleasure of introducing the esteemed judges: James P. Hynes '69, '01H; Anne Marie Hynes, Esq.; Amran Hussein, Esq.; Rich Petriccione, Ph.D., '81, '95MS; and Peter Ripp '68. Student teams had four minutes to present their pitch followed by a four-minute Q&A session with the judges. The final pitches were judged on eight criteria: feasibility, uniqueness, market need, impact, cost of implementation, ease of implementation, idea articulation, and overall impression.
All the student teams brought their A-game and with tremendous improvement from their original 30-second idea pitches in February. Each team came out a winner, with three prizes for each track.
Congratulations to all the students who participated and made this experience a success!
Business Venture Track
First place ($1,000) – Gael Grub: A mobile dining app that combines all food-related needs of the Iona community in a clean central layout.
Second place ($500) – Gooseberry: A restaurant with healthy fast food alternatives in an allergy-friendly environment.
Third place ($250) – Action Lifts Limits: A family of underdogs where clothing meets ambition.
Social Entrepreneurship Track
First place ($1,000) – Job Transition Initiative: A 501(c)(3) that sponsors middle-skill occupational job training and career development services.
Second place ($500) – Miracle Medic: Miracle Medic delivers data to help save lives.
Third place ($250) – Bangladesh Clean Water Project: Chemists Without Borders solves humanitarian problems by mobilizing the resources and expertise of the global chemistry community and its networks.
Technology Innovations Track
First place ($1,000) - Park Pro: An application that uses gamification features to assist drivers to find, hold & trade parking spaces.
Second place ($500) - Muscle Memory: Active Augmented Reality, to put practice in your own court.
Third place ($250) - Backyard Blendz: Simple, original beat-making.