Students pitch entrepreneurial ideas and solutions at Triple Impact Challenge

Thirty-one teams registered to present new business venture ideas or solutions to social issues in the student competition.

​On April 22, student teams gathered in Lakeside Hall for the fourth Triple Impact Challenge hosted by the Doherty Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership. Once per semester, students have the opportunity to pitch their entrepreneurial ventures to a panel of judges at the event.

The Triple Impact Challenge debuted in fall 2013 with just six student teams. Since then, the semi-annual competition has grown significantly in size and popularity.

The purpose of the Triple Impact Challenge is for students to develop solutions for real-world problems or to present new business ideas. Students have the opportunity to connect with professionals in relevant fields, develop their problem-solving skills, and add value to their local communities.

For Kellen Sorensen ’16, the unique purpose of the Triple Impact Challenge is “to open up a viewpoint that students might not otherwise witness, which provides the opportunity to see different issues from a wider perspective than what would otherwise be considered.”

Sorensen participated in the competition this semester with his teammate Alex Zaterka. They won third place in the business ventures category for their idea “MyStyle,” a mobile app where users share fashion-related information. Sorensen also participated in the fall 2014 challenge and won first place with his product “BioNode,” a biodegradable planting pot.

A total of 62 students across all majors, divided among thirty-one teams, registered to present this semester. Presentation topics were divided into two tracks: social entrepreneurship solutions and new business ventures. Eleven teams registered in the social entrepreneurship category and twenty teams registered new business venture ideas. Due to the large number of entries, the new business venture category was split into two separate groups. This resulted in three sets of winners.

​​One of the first-place teams in the business ventures category was “MUCKBRUSH” by Mikayla Born ‘18, Molly Phillips ‘18 and Alyx Bean ‘17. MUCKBRUSH is a device that is attached to the underside of a car or truck below the drivers-side door that is used to clean off the driver’s shoes before they get into their car.

The goal of this product is to save users time and money spent on cleaning their vehicles. It is geared towards consumers in construction, landscaping and other outdoor labor positions. Although there are similar products currently available in the marketplace, most shoe-cleaners are mounted at the back of the vehicle. MUCKBRUSH would employ a unique retracting system, which would hide it beneath the vehicle.

​The other first-place team in the business ventures category was “T-Cap Tattoo Aftercare Chapstick,” created by Blake Rice ‘15, Jay Faires ‘18 and William Henderson ‘18. This product is a tattoo-healing ointment applied using a chapstick-style applicator. The team found that existing tattoo ointments have a tendency to stain or ruin clothes that rest on or near tattoo sites. The T-Cap Tattoo Aftercare Chapstick would be designed to protect clothing. It would also aid in the recovery process after receiving a tattoo.  

​Jordan Serotte ’16 and Claire Carroll ‘17 took first in the social entrepreneurship category with their idea “Bus Buzz.”This idea uses wireless technology to alert families when the school bus is approaching the bus stop. The product would enable users to avoid the lengthy wait times that students and parents currently endure at bus stops, especially in unfavorable weather conditions.

Other Winners:

2nd place Business Venture: “Loop” – Nick First, Ryan Gill, Parker Douglas, John Bolton, Tim Bolton

2nd place Business Venture: “Squadd” – Steve Bianchi

2nd place Social Entrepreneurship: “McMichael Coffee Shop” – Joey Kermes, James Miralia

3rd place Business Venture: “DriveID” – Matthew Corman, Alex Swallow, Mitchell Achey

3rd place Business Venture: “MyStyle” – Kellen Sorensen, Alex Zaterka

3rd place Social Entrepreneurship: “African Gardens” – Laurel June Shuler, Josephine Gardner

Triple Impact Challenge Judges included:

Business Ventures

Haya Ajjan – Assistant Professor of Management Information Systems, Elon University

David Hingham – Entrepreneur, Founder and CEO of Hingham Ventures and owner of six retail businesses in the Burlington area

Sha McIntyre – Business Counselor, Triad Regional Small Business and Technology Development Center

Kurt Moore – Director of Foundation Relations, Elon University

Coleman Rich – Senior Lecturer in Operations and Supply Chain Management and Chair of the Department of Marketing and Entrepreneurship, Elon University

Barth Strempek – Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship, Elon University

Bob Weston – Director, Triad Regional Small Business and Technology Development Center

Social Entrepreneurship

Jessica Bilecki – Education and Outreach Coordinator, Office of Sustainability, Elon University

James Marchant, Assistant Professor of Arts Administration, Coleman Foundation Faculty Fellow for Entrepreneurship, Elon University

Kirby Wahl, Associate Professor of Performing Arts, Elon University

The Doherty Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, established in 2007 by a gift from Elon parents Ed and Joan Doherty P’07, focuses on teaching entrepreneurial thinking and initiatives that attempt to solve problems or seize opportunities. The center sponsors several programs and events throughout the year aimed at students in all fields of study.

The next Triple Impact Challenge will be held in fall 2015.