Startup competition gives student entrepreneurs opportunities
Entrepreneurship Society connects startups to successful entrepreneurs. | Chak Hee Lo / THE CHIMES
Founded just this year, the Entrepreneurship Society connects students and startups with successful entrepreneurs established in the field. Three of these startups landed in the top three spots of the annual Crowell School of Business Startup Competition: youniquely_made, Eleven Streetwear and Polymigo.
With a first place prize of $15,000 and $10,000 legal package, youniquely_made founders Biola MBA graduate students Karissa Le, Jasper Lee and Chris Wong, expressed their gratitude for being acknowledged for their hard work.
“I don’t think it’s sunk in yet, but this is definitely our goal, so to reach it and all the hard work, I feel really grateful and proud of what we’ve done,” Le said.
Youniquely_made is an e-commerce matchmaking platform for artistic creators and marketing clients with the ability to reach a large market, according to its description.
“It was definitely the largest market opportunity across all the business plans that we saw,” said judge and Apple employee Christeen Rico. “I thought that their depth of research and the way they presented their information and were able to answer every question very confidently with a lot of data, just shows how invested they are, how they thought through their business from a lot of different angles.”
The judges also provided the team with constructive critique.
“We still have to process it, but I think the judges had two or three important points for us, most of which is not to rush through the most important core part of our business,” Lee said.
Runner up was Eleven Streetwear, a company devoted to providing ethically sourced, high quality apparel to benefit lower-income communities. Founded by alumni Michelle and Zachariah Roberts, this team earned $7,500 for their hard work and accomplishment.
“I think it’s challenged all of us quite a bit to really push forward and refine the idea. I remember one of our earliest workshops, they were talking about how you take your idea and 10x it, so that your vision can really grow and I think we’ve done that,” Roberts said.
Third place went to Polymigo along with a $5,000 prize. The creators of Polymigo intend to change the world with their augmented reality language learning book and app.
While students are making progress on the business front, there is also progress being made in the Biola entrepreneurial community. During a brief Q&A session between presentations, senior communications major Elaine Fung and junior business major Ashley Moschetti, founders of the society, described how events like Fireside Chats help connect students with successful entrepreneurs in the field.
Interaction with these entrepreneurs opens up educational conversations that create a supportive environment.
“Sometimes we need that encouragement of someone to say, hey, I was there and I felt the same things that you are feeling and it’s ok that you’re feeling that and how do we as a community come together in all seasons of life and encourage each other,” Moschetti said.
By staying connected with successful entrepreneurs as well as other students, the Entrepreneurial Society encourages students to engage in innovative collaboration and use of individual tools.
“I see a community of people that are going to come around each other and use whatever gifts we’ve been given to serve God,” Moschetti said.