Philadelphia University students this week pitched innovative businesses that included a winning app to map travel, as well as a multipurpose pocket square, a platform to trade textbooks, and an app to curate the perfect date at the third Top Ram Business Model Competition.
First place went to physician assistant studies sophomore Amanda McCreight for Mark Your Map, an app that allows people to map their footprints around the world and organize their trip memories. Inspired by her love of travel, she received $1,500 and three months of office space from Make Offices for winning the Top Ram Matt Glass Award. “This has given me the confidence to continue moving forward and pursuing this idea,” McCreight said.
Date Mate, an app that curates the perfect date from start to finish, was named Top Ram runner up and innovation award winner. The $500 prize went to team members Allison Costa, fashion merchandising and management major; Josh Ferguson, industrial design major; Tabitha Porter, graphic design communication major; and Fayez Alalyani, mechanical engineering major.
Sponsored by Make Offices and Steven J. Glass, the competition required students to submit a business model canvas for their proposal and deliver a five-to-seven-minute business pitch to a panel of experts Dec. 6. The nine teams of finalists were judged on concept, research, storytelling, business model feasibility and business model design and innovation.
Other ideas presented included an all-in-one stop for college course materials, a service that combines the concept of Google’s self-driving car with an ambulance and emergency room, and a web platform for nontraditional instruments.
Competition judges included Harvey Hoffman, founder and managing principal of HZH Strategy; Amber Wanner, founder of CandiDate Philly; John Sullivan, an attorney with Wertman Law; Jason Crook, PhilaU assistant professor of marketing; and Stuart Segal ’70, a health care industry general manager.
Last year’s Top Ram winner, Renee Kakareka ’16, won for her assistive technology company Olive Devices. She was accepted to the Angel Venture Fair the following semester and went on to win $5,000 in the JAZ Tank pitch competition. She soon will have a prototype ready for her smart glasses to help the hearing impaired.
“Top Ram promotes entrepreneurship and encourages critical thinking,” said Abena Nyarko, PhilaU Blackstone LaunchPad program operations coordinator. “Winning the competition definitely makes them want to push the ideas far beyond Top Ram.”