Wofford College awarded six student startup companies a total of $20,000 in cash and support services during the college’s third annual Impact & Launch competition at the end of March.
Six winners were chosen out of 10 finalists, all of which had 15 minutes to pitch their concept before a panel of judges. Five finalists pitched ideas focused around social or community improvement projects (Impact), while the remaining five pitched more traditional business models (Launch).
On the Impact side, Wofford student Philip Habib’s idea Learn More, Do More took first place with a project aimed at helping former prison inmates earn a degree to increase their opportunities in the workforce. The project will assist with college and financial aid applications to Spartanburg Community College’s 42-week programs, which include advanced manufacturing, automotive technologies, HVAC and refrigeration, welding and other career paths. The project – which won $5,000 and a marketing consultation from New York City-based The Strategy Collective – will also prepare participants via basic job application and interview skills.
In the Launch category, business economics student Victoria Biggers’ concept also took first place with Wee Celebrations, a children’s party service idea that allows parents to focus on their child rather than event details. Biggers received $5,000 plus a year’s worth of coworking space The Iron Yard Spartanburg.
The five-member judge panel included Marco Suarez, Etsy senior product designer and cofounder of Methodical Coffee in Greenville; Scarlett Sieber, Infomous vice president of operations; Emil Picasso Genolizo, Pheonix Interactive’s director of UX; Chad Williamson, cofounder of student public service and entrepreneurship organization Noble Institute; and Deepa Subramaniam, director of product at nonprofit charity: water.
Around 200 people attended the five-hour Saturday evening event, which was held at Wofford College’s campus in Spartanburg. The competition is one element of the college’s entrepreneur development programming, The Space in The Mungo Center. The Space includes five programs aimed at giving students preparation with career development, internships, social entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship and consulting.
- First: Learn More, Do More – $5,000
- Second: Farah Kindergarten – $1,000
- Third: Let’s Band Together – $1,000