Second Annual Iona Innovation Challenge Winners Announced

Entrepreneurship, Student Achievements

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – Iona College's Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation hosted its second annual Iona Innovation Challenge final pitch event with $6,000 in cash prizes. Participating students had the opportunity to pitch ideas that tackled real-world problems. Student teams self-selected their solutions into one of three tracks - business ventures: ideas driven by value creation through economic returns; social entrepreneurship: ideas driven by social change; and technology innovations: ideas driven by technological innovations.

Christoph Winkler, Ph.D., endowed professor and founding program director, welcomed the full house of Iona students, faculty, staff, mentors and Westchester community members.

"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 putting themselves at the center of their success," said Winkler.

The two-month competition began with the Iona Innovation Kickoff on February 8, with 18 teams and 31 students.

"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 of curricular & co-curricular programming.

Pacheco-Jorge reminded the crowd their journey included three milestones that consisted of a 30-second pitch, a 1000-word executive summary and a 10-slide pitch deck. Teams attended workshops such as ideation, business modeling, pitch prep, and more. They engaged with mentors and local entrepreneurs throughout the challenge, who then nominated teams to present to judges on the final pitch event.

The judges for the evening included: James P. Hynes '69, '01H; Anne Marie Hynes, Esq.; Danielle Butin, MPH, OTR; Sean O’Shea '13, MS '14; and Darrell Wheeler Ph.D., MPH, ACSW. Judges listened to four-minute pitches that 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.

The nine teams ended the night on a high note with a classic big check, with prize money ranging from $250 to $1,000.

The Hynes Institute congratulates all students and teams who participated and made the experience a success.

Business Venture Track

FIRST PLACE - $1,000

SHOTCA: A digital socio-economic marketplace merging innovative technology with the lucrative online art market.
Raymond Carapella ’20, Anthony Danial ’20, Rushabh Singh ’21, Jonathan Valle ’20


Bright: A subscription-based box that delivers engaging & cognitive activities to elderly who may suffer from mental illness.
Amanda McCormack ’19


RedZone: Sports newsletter for businesswomen to keep them informed of the world of sports.
Colin Longsdon ’22, Wynn Johnson ’22

Social Entrepreneurship Track

FIRST PLACE - $1,000

Entrepreneurial Adventure Camp: Design thinking camp accelerating entrepreneurship education. Lisbeth Baez ’20, Sabita Dhanpaul ’20


KOMIDA Food Systems: Re-thinking the way we grow produce using an advanced closed-looped system. Alberto Goncalves ’20


The People’s Kitchen: Helping achieve the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, specifically to produce and consume responsibly, and to eradicate hunger. Alexandra Arluna ’19

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


Intonate: A voice coaching app for people seeking to alter their vocal range, pitch, resonance, and intonation. James Shoptaugh ’20


StayPut: A software application that allows users to order food directly to their seat at stadium venues. Vishnu Mackenchery ’20, Santi Mascolo, Phil Raviele ’21, Anthony Scimeca ’19

Fan Favorite Track

A 2-week social media competition where the semi-finalists crowdsourced likes on Instagram.

WINNER - $750

SHOTCA: A digital socio-economic marketplace merging innovative technology with the lucrative online art market. Raymond Carapella ’20, Anthony Danial ’20, Rushabh Singh ’21, Jonathan Valle ’20

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 45,000 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.