Up for the challenge: Making ideas a reality

2016 Howard Isaacson Innovation Challenge winner Stephany Lopez Da Silva
Stephany Lopez Da Silva

“I’m grateful for every professor and mentor who believed that I had the potential to make my idea become reality. I listened carefully to their advice, and they helped me learn how to successfully develop and present a business plan.”

—Stephany Lopez Da Silva

Of the 25 budding entrepreneurs who pitched their business ventures to a panel of judges for the 2016 Howard Isaacson Innovation Challenge, three hit it out of the park.

After several rounds of elimination, the top five finalists presented their ideas to more than 120 spectators and three judges. The top three participants received a cash prize, and first place also earned office space at Research Park in Boca Raton for six months.

The competition gives Lynn students and employees the opportunity to introduce their ideas for a new product or business to investors. Now in its third year, the competition was the brainchild of alumnus Jeremy Office ’11. 

Throughout the challenge, participants partner with entrepreneurs, executives and College of Business and Management faculty members who mentor and guide them in their journey to create viable businesses and business plans.

‘‘I’ve had the pleasure of working with and mentoring some of the most creative, innovative and entrepreneurial students at the university,” said Brian Sommer, assistant professor of management, who runs the challenge through the college’s entrepreneurship program.

​1st place

Stephany Lopez Da Silva, MBA student

Company: All Shapes and Colors, a specialized brand for same-sex parents and their children with such products as T-shirts, bodysuits, bibs, baby albums, children’s books and stickers

Runner-up

Majed Charife, MBA student

Company: Hire Squire, a website and concierge service for international students looking to study in the United States

3rd place

Samantha Haag, entrepreneurship major

Company: Nerdvana, a nerd-themed restaurant/social event

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