Start a business in 50 hours? Improve the financial wellness of bank clients with an app? Not a problem for Weatherhead students who took home second and third place at Cleveland State University’s Startup Vikes weekend, and won third place at Ohio State University’s national KeyBank Minority Case Competition.
Weatherhead MBA students beamed while standing next to oversized checks over the weekend, after winning cash prizes at Cleveland State University’s Startup Vikes weekend and Ohio State University’s national KeyBank Minority Case Competition.
At Startup Vikes student teams were challenged to start a business 50 hours. MBA students Lauren Nelson, Nicky Murray Turco, Ian Drummond, Anuj Agrawal and Derek Prijatel started Garage Founder, a platform that matches founders with space. They pulled on some of the experiences and projects they had already formed in class at Weatherhead. “The idea originally started as a part of a class project for Michael Goldberg and Brandon Cornuke’s AMES Business Model course, and through intensive customer research it has become a viable business idea,” says Nelson. Her team came in second at the competition, winning $1,000 to launch their company.
Securing the third place spot was another Weatherhead team, made up of MBA students Siddartha Sen, Shravan Khare and Bassam Arafat. They created Inspirit and took home $500 in prize money.
Twenty-eight teams from business schools across the country competed at Ohio State University’s KeyBank Minority Case Competition – each responding to KeyBank’s case topic. Competitors were tasked with using behavioral science paired with technology to improve the financial wellness of KeyBank’s clients through the bank’s newly acquired app, HelloWallet. Weatherhead MBA students Shanelle Smith, Amday Wolde and Robert Relief came in third, winning a $5,000 cash prize. Smith also received the prize for best presenter. “I am elated that we won 3rd place and that I was selected as a best presenter,” says Smith. “To come in 3rd place against seasoned teams is an honor, and next year we look forward to bringing home the 1st place trophy!”
Intense competitions like these give students valuable experience in creating a business and delivering a pitch to investors. Armed with a bit of startup money, their ideas are one step closer to becoming realities. “StartUp Vikes was a really cool opportunity to hone and focus our pitch with the help of some of the best mentors in Northeast Ohio’s entrepreneurial ecosystem,” says Nelson. “To have come in second place is really motivating for our team and we’re excited to see what Garage Founder becomes!”
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