Launch DePaul 2015 Awards Night

IMG_24211From cross-training for horses to an elliptical conversion kit for bikes, the businesses presented on at the Launch DePaul 2015 Awards Night were anything but ordinary.

At the Launch DePaul Awards Night on May 5th, six final teams pitched their new ventures to a judging panel composed of four distinguished entrepreneurs from the Chicago business community. All competed for a prize pool of $17,000 and in-kind professional services. Attendees also selected two Audience Choice Award winners by voting with blue chips in the respective teams’ boxes.

Joining us as VIP judges were Seth Kravitz, Co-Founder of Technori; Maura O’Hara, Executive Director of Illinois Venture Capital Association; John Pletz, Senior Reporter – Technology of Crain’s Chicago Business; and Kip Read, Senior VP – Commercial Banking of American Chartered Bank. Suzanne Nance, Emmy Award-winning Broadcaster and Host of 98.7FM WFMT Chicago served as our Honorary Emcee for the evening. 

In the Undergraduate Division, the judges awarded the $4,000 first prize to Elizabeth Hakimi and her company, UpRide, a bicycle-to-elliptical conversion kit. The $2,500 second prize was awarded to AxeCrate, a subscription box of items for guitarists founded by Ryan Siepka. Kidsband, a wearable that monitors a child’s health and location founded by Jenny Fuerte, received the third prize of $1,000.

In the Graduate Division, the judges awarded the $4,000 first prize to Horse Pilates, founded by Sue Nicole Susenburger, an online service that offers cross-training instruction for horses. The $2,500 second prize was awarded to Yanqin Yang and her company, LingoStone, a website/app for learning English with a built-in marketing tool for companies seeking to connect with Chinese consumers. Smart Insurance Saver, the Priceline for car insurance founded by Syed Hussain, received the third prize of $1,000.

One team in each division received an Audience Choice Award of $1,000. The Audience Choice Award winning teams were UpRide (Elizabeth Hakimi) in the Undergraduate Division and LingoStone (Yanqin Yang) in the Graduate Division.

Launch DePaul 2015 Thanks You

The Coleman Entrepreneurship Center thanks and congratulates all who participated in making this year’s Launch DePaul New Venture Competition and Awards Night a great success. 

Thanks to our first round judges for helping us choose the six Launch DePaul finalists: Bob Achettu, La’Shon Anthony, Kristin Barrett, Brian Bauer, Tim Cole, Rania El-Sorrogy, Glenn Gottfried, Aksh Gupta, Lori Igleski, Scott Issen, Greg Jaros, Ron Kirschner, John Lump, Drew Marticke, Tricia Meyer, Tony Mirchandani, RJ Pahura, Rob Pasquesi, Matt Ragas, Jennifer Rosen, Pat Sandercock, Greg Silich, Katie Sowa, Kevin Turner, Harold Welsch, Alex White, and Cynthia Williams.
We particularly appreciate our VIP judges for the Launch DePaul Awards Night: Seth Kravitz, Co-Founder of Technori; Maura O’Hara, Executive Director of Illinois Venture Capital Association; John Pletz, Senior Reporter – Technology of Crain’s Chicago Business; and Kip Read, Senior VP – Commercial Banking of American Chartered Bank. We also acknowledge our Honorary Emcee, Suzanne Nance, Emmy Award-winning Broadcaster and Host of 98.7FM WFMT Chicago

Thank you to all of the DePaul students, faculty, staff, alumni, and members of the Chicago entrepreneurial community who gathered on May 5, 2015 for the Launch DePaul Awards Night.Thanks, too, to Flowers for Dreams for providing beautiful flowers for the evening. We also extend our appreciation to the  donors of in-kind professional services: Cynthia Willams of Ideation Zone, Grind LaSalle, and the Coleman Circle.Finally, a very special thank you to our Launch DePaul 2015 sponsors: Accounting firm Kutchins, Robbins & Diamond (Gold) social talent recruiter QUEsocial (Silver), Chicago coworking community Grind (Bronze) and our media sponsor, Crain’s Chicago Business.In case you missed it, check out the picture gallery from the Launch DePaul Awards Night event.


Coleman Connections: Earth Day with Food Entrepreneurs on 4/22

Earth Day FoodJoin us on Wednesday, April 22nd in the Lincoln Park Student Center, as we celebrate Earth Day with four of Chicago’s leading entrepreneurs in the “green” food industry. We will host an informal discussion on the innovative work of these local entrepreneurs, and explore ways students can get involved in food-related ventures.

Panelists include Paul Hardej, VP of Production and Development at Farmed Here; Eloise Karlatiras, CEO & President of The Green Chicago Restaurant Coalition; Andrew Lutsey, Co-founder and CEO of Local Foods and Linda Mallers, Founder & CEO of FarmLogix, LLC. A Chipotle representative will also be present to discuss the green initiatives of a large-scale food company.

The event will take place from 4pm-5:30pm on Wednesday, April 22nd, in Room 220 of the Lincoln Park Student Center.

Registration is required! Space is limited and will be reserved on a first-come first-served basis. First 30 attendees receive a free burrito card at Chipotle!
Our program is part of DePaul’s campus-wide Earth Week Celebration, and we are pleased to partner with DePaul’s CEO Club, DePaul’s Urban Farm Organization, and the Department of Environmental Science and Studies.

Additional details about this event and online registration are available here.

Coleman Circle Meet & Greet with Aashish Dalal of ParkWhiz on 4/21

The Coleman Circle is pleased to welcome Aashish Dalal, Co-Founder and CEO of e-parking leader, ParkWhiz, to its next gathering on Tuesday, April 21st at Grind LaSalle from 6-8pm. Aashish, a DePaul alum, will speak about how he launched and has grown ParkWhiz into a market leader, and share his thoughts on the future of mobile apps.

The Coleman Circle is a new network of business professionals who are passionate about entrepreneurship and who want to support the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center. Participants in the Coleman Circle demonstrate their commitment to Entrepreneurship at DePaul with an annual $1,000 contribution to the Center, and help expand the reach and impact of the network.

If you’re an entrepreneurial leader who is interested in a deeper involvement with the Center, consider becoming a Partner in this new group. Join us on April 21st to meet Aashish Dalal, connect with other Coleman Circle Partners, and explore how you can get involved. Additional details and registration are here.

Coleman Circle Meet & Greet with John Hoesley on 2/17

The Coleman Circle is a new community of business professionals who share a passion for entrepreneurship and want to support DePaul’s Coleman Entrepreneurship Center.
Partners of the Coleman Circle have access to special events, and on Tuesday, February 17th, 6-7:30pm at Theory, we will be gathering with special guest, John Hoesley. Mr. Hoesley, former Managing Director of Silicon Valley Bank, and recently appointed Managing Director of The PrivateBank’s new technology group, will give an informal presentation on the rising trends in entrepreneurship in Chicago. This evening is specifically designed for DePaul Alumni or entrepreneurial business professionals interested in joining the Coleman Circle.
Why do individuals become Coleman Circle partners? They want to:

  • give back to the university
  • give forward to build the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center and the next generation of entrepreneurs
  • get to know on a personal and professional level other entrepreneurial supporters of DePaul and the Center
Participating professionals in the Coleman Circle are committed to supporting the Center on an annual basis ($1,000 donation) and to expanding the reach and impact of the network.
If you’re an entrepreneurial leader who is interested in getting involved with the Center on a deeper level, consider becoming a Partner of this new group. Join us on Tuesday, February 17th,
6-7:30pm at Theory for a meet and greet with other Partners. Come learn more about the Coleman Circle and how you can get involved. Register here to let us know you’re coming.

Sharpen Your Launch DePaul Submission at our Workshop on 3/5

LDP Workshop 2. DePaul students, are you ready to submit your new business idea to the Launch DePaul judges? Don’t miss our final workshop in March before the April 1st submission deadline!

Join us on Thursday, March 5, from 3:30-5:30pm in Room 5903 of the DePaul Center for our next Launch DePaul Workshop, “Submitting Your Best Team Entry.” Three distinguished leaders from Chicago’s entrepreneurial community will assist you in creating your best possible entry, increasing your chances of winning from this year’s larger prize pool of $17,000 at the May 5th Awards Ceremony.

Brian Bauer, Director of the Startup Leadership Program; Rania El-Sorrogy, Executive Director of Hatch Valley (DePaul Alum and previous Launch DePaul winner); and Michael Stadnicki, Co-Founder of Launch Franchise Development and Partner at Big Cheese Poutinerie (DePaul Alum), will answer your questions and provide insights on how to refine your business idea and present your best pitch.

This workshop is the chance to get your final questions answered as you prepare to submit your team entry by April 1st. Bring your business idea to entrepreneurs to gain their expert feedback and hear stories from their own entrepreneurial journeys as you embark on yours.

Launch DePaul is an opportunity to submit and pitch a business idea and win cash prizes and in-kind services to help launch your new venture. For more information about Launch DePaul, including team guidelines and to submit your team entry, please visit the Launch DePaul 2015 page.

DePaul’s Startup Alley Leads to Lively Internships

Startup Alley Internship Fair. Fifteen Chicago startups joined us on Friday, February 13th, for our first Startup Alley at DePaul’s Winter Internship Fair. DePaul University’s Career Center and the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center hosted the event, which was held in the Atrium of the Lincoln Park Student Center.

Hundreds of students attended the fair, and Startup Alley served as the key connection with area entrepreneurs. DePaul students were excited to have access to such dynamic internships offered by startup companies and told us, “More startup companies!” for future internship fairs.

Companies left with a good feeling about the quality of students they met, and plan to hire DePaul students for internships or other positions at their companies. Commenting on the value the event delivered for new ventures, one entrepreneur explained, “As a startup, you need to be creative in how to find the best talent. This is a unique opportunity to gain exposure you would not otherwise have as you get started.”

If you are a startup company and you’d like to be involved in future Coleman Entrepreneurship Center opportunities like this, please contact us to be added to our announcement list.

We’re pleased to have had these companies attend our Startup Alley Internship Fair this year:

Red Cannonball Digital Marketing
Quest Innovation, Medquery
ICNC – Industrial Council of Near West Chicago
Urban Leash
Freestyle Partners
Fortes Consulting
Breaking Voices
Review Trackers

Click here to see our online photo gallery from the event, with images by Baskin-White Photography.


Ready to Turn Your Lackluster Ideas into Brilliant Ones?

Alex Bruton. Research tells us that there’s something like a 99.998% chance the idea that just popped into your head won’t go on to have a high impact. But you can change that.

Join us on Thursday, February 26th, 6-8pm in DPC 8005 as we host one of North America’s biggest innovative thinkers, Dr. Alex Bruton. Dr. Bruton is coming to DePaul from Calgary, Canada to give you practical, visually engaging tools to help you turn your hunches into really big value ideas!

Come ignite your imagination and have your thinking challenged with this inspiring call to action from Dr. Bruton, founder of the Innographer. Hear stories of others who’ve learned to develop Big Value Ideas and walk away with a practical toolkit you can use right away to deliberately change your odds of entrepreneurial success. Please register for this evening event with Dr. Alex Bruton here.

Launch DePaul Workshop on 2/19: Develop Your Idea & Find Your Team

Are you looking for guidance in developing your idea for Launch DePaul, our annual new venture competition? The Coleman Entrepreneurship Center is hosting two Launch DePaul Workshops over the next few weeks to help student teams produce a winning business idea to enter.
The first Launch DePaul Workshop — “Developing Your Team and Your Idea” — will take place on Thursday, February 19th, 3:30-5:30pm in Room 5903 of the DePaul Center. Three business professionals, Gregory Bielowicz (DePaul Alum); Marcy Capron, Partner & CEO of Polymathic; Bill Himmelstein, Founder & CEO, Tenant Advisory Group; will serve as entrepreneurial coaches. They will advise contestants on building their teams and refining their venture ideas — increasing their chances of becoming a finalist at the Launch DePaul Awards Ceremony on May 5th.
For students with a budding business idea who are looking for a partner for the Launch DePaul competition, this workshop is the chance to meet other potential DePaul student teammates. Come learn what it takes to start your own business, network with fellow students, and get your questions answered from entrepreneurs!
Launch DePaul is an opportunity to submit and pitch a business idea and win cash prizes and in-kind services to help launch the new venture. For more information about Launch DePaul including team guidelines and submission information, please visit the Launch DePaul 2015 page on our website.

DePaul Students Honored at Innovation Awards

innovation_lettersOn Thursday, February 12th, 10 students from DePaul University were recognized for their creativity and innovation. The 5th Annual Student Innovation Awards event featured presentations and pitches from our student competition winners, as well as a panel of leading innovators from the Chicago business community.

A total of $7,000 in scholarships were awarded to these DePaul students:

Gold: Safe Crosser, Monica Gryorowicz
Silver: HealthPrentice, Khoa Nguyen
Bronze: Pulp Paper, Elaine Ackerman
Bronze: KidsBand + App, Jenny Fuerte

Gold: WeatherBox, Casandra Bungert
Silver:, Sue Nicole Susenburger
Bronze: Knight Out Collection, Adam H. Grossman

Honorable Mention
3D Recycling Printer (3DRP), Mariana Gutierrez
IPSER, Morgan Schulhof
Phonella, David Allen

Gold Level winners will receive a $2,000 DePaul scholarship; Silver Level winners, a $1,000 DePaul scholarship; and Bronze Level winners, a $500 DePaul scholarship. Three Honorable Mention winners were also recognized.

The event was held at one of Chicago’s premier co-working spaces and innovation hubs, TechNexus, at 20 N. Wacker Dr., 12th floor. Each year, the event is co-hosted by the Center for Creativity and Innovation and sponsored by the Chicago Innovation Awards.