DePaul Student Entrepreneur Award Winners

DePaul’s Launch DePaul New Venture Competition aims to give student companies the initial support they need to “launch” or continue into grow a successful company. Since the Launch DePaul 2014 competition, two of the winning companies have gone on to win other venture competitions this spring.


Photo submitted by Dr. Patrick J. Murphy

Under the mentorship of Dr. Patrick J. Murphy (left photo, first from right), DePaul MBA student Elizabeth Ames (second from left) and her co-founder/sister Melissa Ames (third from right) won first place at Loyola University’s 3rd annual Quinlan Social Enterprise Competition on April 11th. The team, pictured above with Loyola Professor Mike Welch, recevied a $5,000 prize. Out of many applicants, they competed against finalist teams from Chicago-area universities (Northwestern, University of Chicago, UIC/Loyola, SIU and DePaul). Their venture, EarlyVention, is a one-step ordering process for effective tools that help a family start an early intervention program for a child diagnosed with autism. The judges and audience were impressed by EarlyVention’s innovative business model that integrates social mission and operations, and also by its core product: a cognitive development tool kit for parents of children with autism.

The same weekend in April, DePaul sophomore, Bianca Perry, and her company Bbands, took First Place in the Elevator Pitch division at TCU’s Values & Ventures Business Plan Competition in Fort Worth, Texas (right photo). In addition, BBands was one of three companies recognized with an additional award new to the competition this year, the Ripple Effect Award (named for the impact that one woman can have on the world). In all, she brought home $1500, valuable mentoring advice, and lots of “hardware”.


Photo submitted by Molly Haigh

Bianca was competing against undergraduate teams from 49 different universities, including 5 international entrants. Her company designs sports headbands that display an encouraging tagline and message of inspiration to young women. She employs disadvantaged women to sew the headbands, and is creating a virtual community to connect her young female customers and offer them mutual support through role models and influencers.

We’re proud of our DePaul student teams who have continued to grow their successful companies and make a difference in the entrepreneurial community.