Ithaca College held its annual Business Plan Demo Day on April 24, at Rev: Ithaca Startup Works, where six teams were awarded a total of $12,500 to further advance their self-made businesses.
Nicole Marino ’19 took home the largest amount, with $4,000 for her Flowin’ Rinse Pod – a device that women can use to clean menstrual cups, a reusable alternative to tampons, in public bathroom quickly and efficiently.
During the event, students presented their business to a panel, in the hopes of being awarded money to further their venture. This year’s panel included Ryoko Nozawa, a principal investor from Cayuga Ventures; Heather McDaniel, President of the Tompkins County Area Development; and Judy Mckinney Cherry, the Executive Director of the Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development.
Each student—or group of students—had 10 minutes to present their businesses and five minutes to answer questions from the panel. Every team was given funds for their businesses, with additional awards handed out to certain individuals.
Marino, who won the Sustainability Award, plans to use the funds to file a patent and create prototypes of her product.
“I spent the last six months interviewing people about their experiences using a menstrual cup, and found that one of the biggest problems they face is using their cup in a public restroom,” Marino said. “They face fear, discomfort, irritation and embarrassment. Most people told me that they had to wipe their cups out with toilet paper or leave the stall to rinse their cups in the public sinks. After hearing these experiences, I decided there needed to be a change.”
The Audience Choice award, was given to Aniko Apparel, a style fashion company created by junior Ana Coulibaly that focuses on combining western style clothing with waxprint and Bogolafini prints that are traditional to her home country of Ghana.
“We see the amount of time that students put into their passions, and we want them to know that it’s not going unnoticed,” Reid said. “When you see these kind of presentations, it makes it worth the effort.”