Three teams of budding student entrepreneurs will get to push their visions for purpose-driven technology forward as the winners of the fall 2017 ICAT Demo Day pitch competition, which took place Monday, Dec. 4, 2017.
The top team, RedCap, featured an app that offers new low-interest-rate student loans by pairing students with investors. RedCap includes students Gabrielle Bailey, David Bulmer, Kenny Fuqua and George Handy. The second place team was Totem, an app that aims to eliminate prejudice from the job application process by removing certain identifying information such as gender, age and race. And third place went to Team SIQ (Social Impact Quotient), an app that enables users (both businesses and individuals) to establish a ranking for their social impact. The three winning teams will share $10,000 in prize money that they’ll use to continue developing their businesses.
In addition to winning over $3,000 a piece, both the Totem and SIQ teams were also selected as impact award winners. This means that their projects were deemed by Stuart Williams, the College’s Impact Entrepreneur in Residence, as exemplifying the best balance between purpose and profit. Both teams will travel to New York City to make a presentation at the United Nations next year.
A panel of judges drawn from Charleston’s business community selected the winners before a packed audience in the College’s Wells Fargo Auditorium. This pitch competition is the signature event for the College’s ICAT (Interdisciplinary Center for Applied Technology) Program, which gives students real-world experience developing technology-based businesses that make a difference while making a profit.
“This was an amazing night,” said Alan T. Shao, dean of the School of Business. “What we do in this school is all about getting our students ready for work, and you can see from the presentations you’ve heard tonight that they are ready. This kind of student success doesn’t just happen. It comes with an amazing amount of work on the part of our faculty. We are so fortunate to have top notch professors in the School of Business, and within the ICAT program, as well as equally talented mentors and judges who work with our students.”
According to the program’s director, professor Chris Starr, the competition at ICAT Demo Day turned out to be very tight. “The judges told us that there was very little separating the top three teams,” said Starr. “And the fourth through sixth-place teams weren’t far behind. The fact that this competition was so close indicates the quality of the students coming through the ICAT program. Their projects are stronger and stronger each semester.”