Triple Impact Challenge presents innovative business proposals

Sixteen students presented entrepreneurial ventures in April that provide community impact and resolutions to social problems.

Students, faculty and the Elon University community gathered April 17 for the culmination of the second Triple Impact Challenge sponsored by the Doherty Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership.

The challenge asked student teams or individuals to present solutions to social problems they saw on campus or in the broader community. Students explored and researched their chosen issue for one month and developed proposed solutions. The eight teams gave 5-minute presentations to a panel of five judges that selected first, second and third place winners based on the potential impact of the solution presented.

The winning team was Ace Timing Race Management, a service to support race organizers comprised of Kate Sims ‘15, Laura Orr ‘16 and Patrick McLaughlin ‘16.

“One of our favorite aspects of the challenge was learning about other people’s ideas and projects. We also received good feedback that helped us identify parts of our presentation that we could strengthen, as well as how to structure our pitch to be more effective in conveying our business idea,” said Sims.

The second place winner was Austin Rhoads ‘14 who developed Lynkforce, software to connect companies to freelance workers.

Globes to Give Back, a program to fund microloans, came in third place. The team was comprised of Denis Dotson ‘14, Anna DeDufour ‘15 and Paige Edwards ‘15.

Other student who participated were Andrew Creech ‘14 presenting Man Kits, a men’s hygiene subscription service; Michael Somerby ‘17, who developed Church Street Ghee, a healthy butter alternative; and Dario Morando ‘17, developer of BluePrint Backpacks, a customizable backpack company. A team comprised of Kimberly Gersh ‘14, Marie Lunney ‘14 and Megan Guido ‘14 developed Cookie Ninja, a late night cookie delivery service. Cape Cod Aquaculture, a domestic fish farming idea, was presented by Parker Connolly ‘16, Will Shelly ‘14 and Adam Salaymeh ‘16.

Judges for the Triple Impact Challenge included: Barth Strempek, associate professor of entrepreneurship; Mary Morrison, assistant dean of students and director of the Kernodle Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement; Peter Ustach ’09, owner of Pandora’s Pies and Fat Frogg; Gary Palin, senior lecturer in entrepreneurship; and Ian Baltutis ’08, owner of Vibration Solution.

The challenge is held to encourage students to develop their entrepreneurial ideas, turning concepts into reality. The overwhelming response to the first Triple Impact Challenge last fall led to the continuation of the program.

“Entrepreneurship is valuable because it encourages people to swim upstream, promoting creativity that is often stifled by the structured nature of classrooms, corporations, and the constructs of every-day life,” Orr said. “Entrepreneurship provides a lens to see the world differently – whether it’s a million dollar business, a way to help nonprofits raise money, or simply tweaking a recipe to create a delicious new dish – the value is in learning how to see beyond what is in order to create what could be.”