2022 DCU / Manning Innovation Contest

On December 1, 2022, Rist DifferenceMaker Institute held the 10th Annual DCU/Manning School of Business Innovation Contest from 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. at University Crossing, Moloney Hall. To kick off the event, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs for the Manning School of Business and Event Emcee of the evening, Amit Deokar provided welcoming remarks.  

After the remarks, the finalist judges were introduced. The judges for the evening were: 

 – Edward Gallagher ‘84, Senior Vice President (retired), Northeast Division, Comcast Business Services 

– Hoang Nguyen ‘07, Director of Finance, DCU 

– Sandesh Parulekar, Director of Information Systems Development, DCU  

– Darcie Sunnerberg ‘87, Vice President/Sovereign Analyst, Loomis Sayles and Company 

Once all judges were introduced, the event began! Five student finalist teams were given ten minutes to present their ideas, along with five minutes of Q&A from the judges. The teams that presented were: 

– AlgoPal, team members Edvard Nordlund, Matthew Crasa, Gabriel Blanchard, Isac Jonsson, Stefan Owens  

– Bridged Connection, team members Isaac Carpio and Dumark Ramirez 

– PayDay, team members Nick Woolsey, Andrew Tarnowski, Daniella Pacheco 

– PTB – Private Teller Booths, team members Nicole Chanquet, Sharon Banks-Obanor, Jesse Kajko, and Mustafa Bellakhdar 

– Solar Crowdfund, team members Tolotra Samuel, Muhammad Khalil, and Borna Doroundi 

Each semi-finalist team member won $100. The teams’ idea ranged from topics such as algorithmic trading, AI teller booth, crowdfunding platform, and more. After each pitch, judges asked questions to help them further understand the ideas. The judges ranked each team based on how clearly they explained their executive summary, mission statement, business goals, market analysis, how they would utilize funding, and project timeline.

Judges listening to a business pitch given by Dunmark Ramirez from Team Bridged Connection, alongside with team member Isaac Carpio

Following the presentations, judges went to a separate area to deliberate the final winner. During this time, all attendees got food, networked with each other, and further discussed the inspiration and details of the ideas that were pitched. 

Around 8:00 pm, the judges returned to announce the final award. Congratulations to team Solar Crowdfund for winning the final prize of $500 per team member! They also automatically advance to the DifferenceMaker Preliminary Pitch-off this spring. 

Team Solar Crowdfund with team members Tolotra Samuel and Muhammad Khalil, announced as the 10th Annual DifferenceMaker DCU / Manning School of Business Innovation Contest Winners.  

In total, DCU awarded $2,300 to student teams at this event.  

Interested in pitching an idea and getting funding?

Applications for the 11th Annual $50,000 Idea Challenge are open now – apply today

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