The 2019 Innovation Challenge: Up to $10,000 on the Line!


Main event: April 15! Mixer at 5 p.m. in McDaniel Lounge, general admission at 6 p.m. in Decker Auditorium.

The Encompass Distinction and the Innovation Challenge are made possible with the generous support of Dennis Sisco ’68 & Alexine Lesko, through the The Sisco Fund for Enterprise Management.

Lights. Cameras. Questions!

Innovative approaches to solving real world problems. New products. Responding to 21st-century markets. The 2019 Innovation Challenge will give teams the chance to win big cash rewards with their pitches:

  • $10,000 grand prize
  • $3,000 second-place prize
  • $2,000 audience-choice prize

+ business consulting opportunities with alumni and area professionals.

Big Wins!

Three entries will win top prizes; everyone will walk away with the experience of a lifetime. Nearly twenty teams submitted this year--five were chosen by the President's Advisory Council (a group of highly successful alumni entrepreneurs):

  • Liquid Lens: "We aim to provide sustainable packaging solutions to the beverage industry, while introducing technology, and aiming to make a positive environmental impact."
  • AWARE--Alternative Wind Application for Renewable Energy: "We are a company with a conscience. AWARE is aimed at creating electricity in a renewable way that is easy for the consumer. We are here to change the world and provide a humanitarian and environmental impact."
  • Fox Boots: "Build a women’s boot company that creates a reliable and comfortable product that assists any woman in her outdoor needs."
  • Abilitize: "Our goal is to empower businesses to engage people with disabilities." 
  • MoneyMind: "To provide simple, general financial literacy guiding young adults into a financially educated and secure future."

The Innovation Challenge finalists propose their ventures, live, on Monday, April 15th. Doors to Decker Auditorium open at 6 p.m., after a 5 p.m. mixer in McDaniel Lounge hosted by Launch Carroll and Encompass Distinction faculty. The evening is hosted by McDaniel's entrepreneur-in-residence, Mr. Jon Weetman.

Judges for this event include:

  • Jason Stambaugh, serial entrepreneur and director of partner experience at DTS Connex
  • Debra Cancro, founder of VoiceVibes and with years of experience in the computer software industry
  • Guy Sheetz, entrepreneur and managing director of Greyhound Holdings, LLC, an investment and consulting firm, and former executive vice-president at Medifast
  • Funlayo Alabi, an entrepreneur that has been featured in Forbes, and is the co-founder of Shea Radiance, a beauty product line that supports women-run cooperatives in West Africa and is sold nationally

Everyone is invited to attend this exciting event! Cheer on the teams, network with like-minded people, and be the first to find out who wins big with their nonprofit or business proposal.

Overview from last year's Innovation Challenge: