On Tuesday, April 7, we held one of the year’s most anticipated events: our Georgetown Entrepreneurship Challenge Finals. This is the culmination of our campus-wide pitch competition tournament that saw 121 students from 79 teams competing in front of 49 experienced entrepreneurial judges. This means that Georgetown students recorded nearly 400 minutes of video pitches in the hopes of making it to the Finals and claiming the $10,000 first place prize, $2,500 second place prize, or the $1,000 finalist prize. We are so proud of everyone who pitched with us over the past few weeks and are excited to announce our winners:
Our undergraduate winner earning a $10,000 first place prize is Project Olas by Rebecca Cox (F’23), a platform to connect Spanish language learners on American college campuses with Guatemalan mothers looking for a safe and dignified income stream. Earning second place and $2,500 was Skuul Fashion by Everett Smith (B’23), a clothing brand focused on empowering the dyslexic community. Other finalists are:
- Identify, Jaylan Smith (F’20)
- NextRound Gifts, Charlie Sharton (F’21)
- Palanor, Kamar Mack (C’21) & Adrian Abrams (C’19)
- [The Bar], Betel Teka (B’20)
The graduate division champion, earning $10,000, is AMO, Inc. by Ayokunle Amoo (SCS’21), a nutritious, low-sugar, cacao-based sports drink. Our second-place graduate division winner with a $2,500 prize is Kits to Heart by Sonia Su (F’20), which makes care packages for patients going through cancer treatment.
- CardioData, Samip Sheth (M’23)
- Chow Corp, Jordan Foley (L’21)
- Phylomics Diagnostics, David Posawatz (G’20)
- RightOn, Erin Brownell (MBA’21) & Matt Susk (MBA’21)
In addition, Phylomics Diagnostics, an early-stage cancer detection startup, was awarded $25,000 in free research and development credits by our friends at Transfotech. Phylomics also won the graduate “Peoples’ Choice Award” of $1,250 as voted on by over 200 attendees on the Zoom event. The undergraduate “Peoples’ Choice Award” of $1,250 was awarded to Identify.
The April 7 event also featured the presentation of the 2020 Georgetown Entrepreneurial Excellence Awards, which recognize individuals who have contributed in special ways to the Georgetown Entrepreneurship community over the past year. Recipients include:
- Lifetime Achievement Award: Prof. Jim Hunt
- Outstanding Mentor Award: Prof. John Jabara, Howard Eisenberg, and Dave Terzian
- Undergraduate Student Entrepreneur of the Year and Pelton Environmental Prize: Globally Unified Air Quality, Simra Ali (C’22), Michael Bartholic (C’22) , Roberto D’Angelo-Cosme (C’21), Anna Giaquinto (B’21), and Neal Singal (B’22)
- Entrepreneurship Faculty Excellence Award: Professors Shye Gilad, Patricia Henriques, and Jay Kenny
- Graduate Student Entrepreneur of the Year: Unveil, Katie Fischer (SCS’20)
- Outstanding Entrepreneurial Leadership Award: Robert Alward (B’22), Estelle Spanneut (B’21), Lily Xu (B’21), Daniel Chapman (MED’24), Ted Cho (MD/MBA’22), and Haiwang Zheng (MBA’20).
While this year’s Georgetown Entrepreneurship Challenge was one for the books, there is so much more we have accomplished together too in this, our tenth anniversary year. Highlights of the year include:
- A wildly successful 3rd Annual Bark Tank pitch competition in November, where we awarded $100,000 of Leonsis Family Entrepreneurship Prizes.
- Two Rocket Pitch Competitions (expanded from one due to popular demand), with each event attracting over 30 student teams and over 150 attendees.
- We accepted our inaugural cohort of 13 into the new Georgetown Entrepreneurship Internship Experience, which seeks to place exceptional undergraduate students with local high-growth companies for an exciting summer internship.
- We also placed our first four undergraduate Venture Fellows, joining their MBA counterparts in working at local venture capital firms for a year.
- Our team of twenty-four stellar Entrepreneurs in Residence was on track to break last year’s record of hours engaging with our students until the University closed for the remainder of the semester. Nevertheless, they continue to meet remotely with students every week as business mentors, gracious alumni, and caring friends.
- We quickly and seamlessly transitioned all of our entrepreneurship courses, programs, and events to online/virtual-only in the face of campus closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- We have accepted at least 12 student entrepreneurs into the 2020 Summer Launch Program, which will be offered virtually for the first time in the coming weeks.
- The launch of Venture Forward, our very first podcast, which is focused on the stories of Georgetown entrepreneurs. Now in its third season, Venture Forward can be found on Spotify and iTunes.
- Continued success with the Entrepreneurship Minor, Georgetown Venture Lab, Pivot Program, the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Alliance, student clubs and living-learning communities, speaker events, and much more…
There’s so much more we achieved together this year and we are thrilled to welcome our students back to campus in the Fall and discover what new challenges and adventures the 2020-2021 school year will bring. Thank you for all for being diligent students, loyal alumni, dedicated faculty and staff, and all others who have taken an interest in our program this year and over the past ten years. Even (and especially) in difficult times, entrepreneurs find ways to innovate, add value, and Create the Future they want to see.
We hope to have you with us on the Hilltop again soon. Hoya Saxa!
Jeff Reid, Ben Zimmerman, David Lange, and Callie Jacobs
The Georgetown Entrepreneurship Team