Information and Updates for the Iona Community on Coronavirus

Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at Iona College Presents 3rd Annual Idea Hackathon

Student teams compete to create solutions around COVID-19 safety and experience


NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – The Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at Iona College will host the third annual Idea Hackathon on Friday, October 2, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. This year’s design challenge focuses on the COVID-19 pandemic, asking student teams to present solutions for a more “normal” experience in navigating daily life while ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of themselves and others.

“At Iona College, we know that everyone — regardless of major or program — can be an entrepreneurial and innovative leader,” said Christoph Winkler, Ph.D., endowed professor and founding program director of the Hynes Institute. “The Hackathon is a fun and impactful way to challenge students to learn outside the lines, as we push them to present meaningful, real-world solutions beyond the classroom.”

Throughout the event, a select group of industry and peer mentors will guide students through the ideation process. Success criteria for judging includes how well their solution fits with the Iona mission, the impact it would have on students and how feasible the solution may be with existing resources.

The top three teams will compete to win gift cards of $100, $300 or $600 per team to the Iona College Bookstore. Students do not need to form teams in advance; teams will be assigned the day of the event. The event will be held virtually. For more information, please contact Dr. Winkler at

The event will also include a keynote address from Dr. Elissa Grossman, director of the Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, Orfalea director’s chair in Entrepreneurship and professor of Clinical Entrepreneurship at the University of Southern California.

Established in 2017, the Hynes Institute is an interdisciplinary hub for the development of creativity and leadership skills critical for success in a global economy. This year, the Hynes Institute launched its first two majors – a Bachelor of Arts in Entrepreneurial Leadership and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Entrepreneurship. It also added an online advanced certificate in Entrepreneurship & Innovation.

The Hynes Institute was established at Iona through a record-setting $15 million gift by James P. Hynes ’69, ’01H and Anne Marie Hynes. The goal was to inspire and guide the next generation of entrepreneurs, innovators and leaders. In launching the Hynes Institute, its benefactors had a vision for an interdisciplinary program that would be transformative for students throughout the College.

Riana Khan ’22 is the first Iona student to declare one of the new undergraduate majors in Entrepreneurship, along with a Marketing major. She will cover the Hackathon with an “Instagram Takeover.” Follow along on Instagram at @ionacollege. 

“The Hynes Institute has a curricular or program offering for every type of student,” said Danny Potocki ’06, adjunct lecturer and entrepreneur-in-residence at the Hynes Institute. “We like to give students a taste of entrepreneurial thinking, inspiring them to dream big and giving them the tools to take ideas from concept to execution. This mindset can be applied to any field of study, or can lead to further exploration with a minor, major or graduate certificate program through the Hynes Institute.”

Founded in 1940, Iona College is a master's-granting private, Catholic, coeducational institution of learning in the tradition of the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers. Iona's 45-acre campus is just 20 miles north of Midtown Manhattan. With a total enrollment of nearly 4,000 students and an alumni base of over 50,000 around the world, Iona is a diverse community of learners and scholars dedicated to academic excellence and the values of justice, peace and service. Iona is highly accredited, offering undergraduate degrees in liberal arts, science, and business administration, as well as Master of Arts, Master of Science and Master of Business Administration degrees and numerous advanced certificate programs. Iona’s LaPenta School of Business is accredited by AACSB International, a prestigious recognition awarded to just five percent of business schools worldwide. The Princeton Review recognized Iona’s on-campus MBA program as a “Best Business School for 2020.” Iona College also recently launched a new, fully online MBA program for even greater flexibility.