Be Your Own Boss 2018 Student Winners

March 13, 2018
Wells College students generated, refined and presented original business ideas at the annual competition presented by the Sullivan Center for Business and Entrepreneurship
students, faculty, and judges pose in the stratton lecture hall

The annual Entrepreneurship Week and Be Your Own Boss Competition, held this year from February 26 to March 2, provides a forum for students to present their own original business ideas and compete for cash prizes. Each year we’re impressed by the quality of our students’ work, and this year was no different—with ideas that touched on healthcare, athletics, education, advanced technology and more, it was clear that Wells’ collaborative, interdisciplinary environment was represented through the competition.

The judging takes place in three divisions: for-profit, social impact, and Friends-Family-Faculty. The latter category allows students to add one person to the team who is a friend at another college or university, a family member, a faculty member or a Wells graduate. In addition, the Center for Sustainability and the Environment jointly awards a prize for the most sustainable business idea.

Working in teams or on their own, students spent the week planning their presentations. Their work was sharpened by support and advice from their peers, faculty professionals and staff in the Sullivan Center for Business and Entrepreneurship. Judges considered the development, analysis and presentation of their ideas both in written plans and oral presentations.

Of the 24 teams that competed in the preliminary rounds, eight were selected as finalists. While students’ majors played no role in the judging, four teams represented the Wells business program and four included a variety of liberal arts and sciences students.

The community gathered in Stratton Lecture Hall at the end of the week for final presentations and announcement of the winning teams. Those winners were:

Grand Prize

CELL (athletic injury technology) – Trysten McLaughlin ’19 and Nate Pieper ’19

For Profit:

1st Place – CELL (athletic injury technology) – Trysten McLaughlin ’19 and Nate Pieper ’19
2nd Place – EMS Life Guard (EMT device) – Nicole Sales ’18 and Scott Litvin ’18

Social Impact / Non-Profit:

1st Place – Stork (car seat technology) – Annabelle Lee ’18
2nd Place – Sycamore Institute (education) – Sarah Halstead ’18
3rd Place – FemTech (personal care) – Sammie Jones ’18
4th Place – Kizuna (education) – Ayumi Kaneshiro, Nana Ogata, and Nanaho Nishimura (studying at Wells from Doshisha Women's College of Liberal Arts)


1st Place – Hudson Valley Carriages (event planning) – Olga Babijtchouk ’18 and Joseph Bowen
2nd Place – Spuds (restaurant concept) – Trysten McLaughlin ’19

Most Sustainable Business Idea

FemTech (personal care) – Sammie Jones ’18

The judges for the 2018 competition were Jennifer Pelton ’92, director of development at the Public Justice Center; Keegan Evans ’15, co-founder and president of Wake Up Waffles; John Gardner, real estate developer and president of the Lewisburg Studio; and Andrew Fish, senior vice president of CenterState CEO.

Next Steps

Following their success in Wells’ Be Your Own Boss events, three Wells teams are continuing to collaborate with the intention of expanding their idea and creating real-world businesses. Several have been invited to participate in a summer business incubator program, and others are applying for provisional patents. One team is collaborating with students from Villanova University and the University of Pennsylvania to refine their technology.

Additionally, six Wells teams were invited to apply to the New York Business Plan Competition regionals, which will be held in April. We wish them luck and look forward to reporting their successes later this spring!

Entrepreneurship Week 2018 also included a keynote talk by Richard Lorenzen. Read more about the Sullivan Center for Business and Entrepreneurship.

Our mission is for every student to think critically, reason wisely and act humanely as they cultivate meaningful lives. On our beautiful lakeside campus, students gain the knowledge, skills and experience to create their own unique path.

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