Nine ventures pitched their innovative ideas at George Washington University’s annual New Venture Competition Thursday, April 18, to vie for a share of $200,000 in cash and $600,000 of in-kind prizes, as well as audience choice honors.
Launched in 2009 by the GW Office of Innovation & Entrepreneurship, the pitch competition was created to give GW students, faculty, staff and alumni a real-world, experiential learning opportunity in entrepreneurship, Technical.ly DC previously reported. Participants had the opportunity to compete in three tracks, including tech, social and new venture, with the guidance from mentors who helped them craft and pitch their ideas.
This year’s competition started with more than 215 teams and the final event was live streamed on Facebook. For the first time ever, the top prize in each track went to an undergraduate, women-led venture.
For the top social venture, 2019 realLIST honorable mention Last Call was awarded $20,000. Founders Chloe King and Erin McGeoy walked away with much more than that, including the Audience Choice Award for $10,000, Best Women’s Venture Prize for $10,000 and Most Innovative Food & Beverage Industry Venture for $5,000. In all, the winnings totaled $45,000 in funding. Last Call is an online marketplace that connects eateries with the community to sell their surplus food at a discounted price.
The top tech venture award for $20,000 went to Plast-Ways, which curates a spray that contains plastic-eating microbes designed to help plastic decompose quicker, expanding the lifespan of landfills. Founders Manyung Emma Hon and Samuel Magaziner were also awarded the Blank Rome’s Best Undergraduate Prize for $10,000 and the Opportune Clean Energy and Healthcare Prize for $5,000, bringing its total winnings to $35,000.
Dulceology topped the competition in the new venture category, winning $20,000. It also won Best Art and Design Student Prize for $10,000 and Best Food & Beverage Industry Venture for $5,000, for a total of $35,000. The startup created an online bakery that engages clients through social media and connects with prospective customers through seasonal pop-up shop experiences. Their focus is on luxury gifts for the corporate world, event planners and the hospitality industry.
The evening saw other winners, as well. Spiro, a company that created a wearable bracelet that helps identify children’s asthma triggers, took home $15,000. Another $5,000 went to the Mobility Innovators team, which created a compact tray designed for U.S. veterans who are wheelchair users and lack independence. GW issued cash and prizes to 15 entrepreneurial teams total.
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