Innovation Challenge top prize goes to Business Administration senior for Stylish Thrift
McDaniel senior William Martin of Winchester, Va., took top prize of $10,000 April 9 at the Innovation Challenge finals for Stylish Thrift, which provides reasonably priced new and vintage sportswear online, giving everyone the opportunity to support their team and show their style without sacrificing quality.
Sophomore Justin Arter and junior Owen Long
Second place of $3,000 went to junior Owen Long, a Psychology major from Hanover, Pa., and sophomore Justin Arter of Waldorf, Md., for Sertified, a pop-up business that tackles the lack of American Red Cross certified lifeguard instructors in northern Maryland and south-central Pennsylvania. The $2,000 audience-choice, third-place prize went to senior Matthew Meagher, a Computer Science and Economics double major from Frederick, Md., and freshman Ben Schipper, a Computer Science major from Olney, Md., for Loyl, a customer loyalty mobile application geared towards customer retention for small businesses.
Senior Matthew Meagher and freshman Ben Schipper
Martin, who has focused his Business Administration major on Entrepreneurship and Leadership Management, plans to use the prize money to increase his inventory and boost Stylish Thrift’s marketing through social media and possibly promotional items such as T-shirts. College kids are Stylish Thrift’s main market, he said in his presentation, adding that the market is around $18 billion a year.
Freshman Sarah Pennington
“It’s awesome that now I will have the resources to take Stylish Thrift to where I want it to go,” Martin said of the online business he started a little more than a year ago after being inspired by the popularity yet routinely high cost of team sportswear that excludes some potential buyers. “It’s so exciting — the competition tonight was really tough.”
The five finalists, chosen from a field of 12 entries, presented their ideas to five judges and an audience of more than 200 people. The finalists and seven runners-up were chosen by members of the President’s Advisory Council, which is made up of entrepreneurial alumni of the College. The students were judged based on creativity/innovation, clarity of purpose, market potential, financial plan and overall strength of application of their entrepreneurial idea or product.
Senior Kelly Edullantes and Junior Kris Gibb
In addition to the top prize winners, the other two finalists are freshman Sarah Pennington of Pottstown, Pa., for Show Your Hero, a nonprofit that pairs young adults with mentors and provides opportunities for them to become leaders because everyone is a hero for getting through the everyday struggles of life, and senior Kelly Edullantes, an Environmental Studies major from Houston, and junior Kris Gibb, an Art major from Glen Burnie, Md., for ZenZen, a mobile application and website that assists in planning green and sustainable events that reduce environmental impact, save money and create positive social rewards.
The Innovation Challenge competition, made possible with the support of 1968 alumnus Dennis Sisco and Alexine Lesko through The Sisco Fund for Enterprise Management, is part of The Encompass Distinction, an academic program in innovation and entrepreneurship that is open to students in any major. By combining courses, off-campus learning experiences and mentorship by entrepreneurial alumni of the College, students gain broad-ranging skill sets required for enterprise management. The Encompass Distinction also includes entrepreneurship and marketing minors.
The judges for the finalist competition are:
• Steve Chapin, Jr., an entrepreneur who founded LifeMinders.com and is also the owner of JARS Residential Properties. Currently a trustee and lecturer at McDaniel College, he received a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy, M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School and master’s degree from Georgetown University. A Carroll County native, he resides in Leesburg, Va.
• Lee Jokl co-founded Citelighter, an education technology startup specializing in creating comprehensive writing and critical thinking tools for K-12 teachers and students, which was acquired by Sylvan Learning. A Baltimore resident, he currently works as a senior manager at T. Rowe Price.
• Steven Kousouris is senior director of finance and administration for Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures, where he manages the financial relationships with licensees and within the university. He also oversees information technology, human resources, licensee compliance and material transfer agreement departments. He earned a M.H.S. degree from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and M.B.A. from Loyola College of Baltimore. He resides in Finksburg, Md.
• Jenny McWhorter is executive producer of global events at Electronic Arts in Redwood City, Calif. Electronic Arts is a leading publisher of digital interactive games on console, PC and mobile, including The Sims, Madden NFL, Plants vs. Zombies and Mass Effect. She is a 2003 alumna of McDaniel College.
• Tiombe Paige owns Cultivated, a boutique for contemporary women’s apparel, décor and gifts in Westminster, Md. One of The Baltimore Sun’s “25 Women to Watch,” she also leads the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce’s Launch Carroll networking group for young professionals.
Visit www.mcdaniel.edu/encompassdistinction for more information about The Encompass Distinction. More information about the McDaniel College Innovation Challenge and this year’s finalists and runners up can be found at https://ceo.mcdaniel.edu/innovationchallenge18.
Innovation Challenge judges are (l. to r.) Steve Chapin, Jr., Lee Jokl, Steven Kousouris, Innovation Challenge winner William Martin, Tiombe Paige and Jenny McWhorter.