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DEMO DAY Awards Start-Up Funds to Student Entrepreneurs

Contributed by Edward Catto on 05/03/21 

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The long-running program, developed and managed by the School of Businesses’ Entrepreneurial group, promotes start-ups and entrepreneurial vision with a unique blend of opportunities, networking, mentoring and funding.

 

Five student businesses were awarded funding at the Ithaca College Business Plan Demo Day, an event hosted online by the Ithaca College School of Business on April 28 where students from around the college pitched business plans.

Demo Day’s panel of judges allocated $15,000 to the student businesses:  MERGR, an online marketplace for social media influencers to source products; Ithaca Pickled Red Onions, a food products company based on a family recipe; Greenhouse Planners, a design assistant for customized daily planner; Dawg Athletic Clothing, an athletic wear brand; and Via's Cookies, a start-up that makes and sells cookies and supports social justice causes.

The funding for the event came from a directed gift from an alumni donor.  The funding is structured to help students advance their businesses.   Instead of an outright prize, the money is a guarantee against valid expenses to move the businesses forward. 

This year’s final judging panel were John Sanna '82, CEO of ScoreCommunications, Marc Jones, CEO of Dreissig Apparel Inc. and Fan Hands LLC, and Brett Smith MBA '18, Executive Director of Advancement at the Rockwell Museum.  Preliminary judges included Professor Ed Catto and Omar Stout ’18.

There were also allocations for Sustainability Award, decided by the Ithaca College Sustainability Faculty represented by Professor John Vongas.  There was also an Audience Choice award, determined by a vote of the online attendees.

Companies and Teams:

·      MERGR:   Brendan Lebitsch    

·      Ithaca Pickled Red Onions:  Noah Gramitt, Jacob Applebaum, Jacob Engelman *Sustainability Award   

·      Greenhouse Planners:  Emmanuelle Bataille *Sustainability Award  

·      Dawg Athletic Clothing:  Isaac Hadac  

·      Via’s Cookies: Olivia Carpenter *Sustainability Award *People’s Choice Award  

“We’re once again thrilled and impressed by efforts and vision of these Ithaca College students,” said Professor Brad Treat, Demo Day Coordinator.

Future participants can look forward to another round of competition during the fall semester.

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