Entrepreneurs Place Second in BIG EAST Startup Challenge

March 28, 2019

St. John’s University’s dedication to encouraging student innovation and entrepreneurship was evident at the inaugural BIG EAST Startup Challenge held on March 16 as third-year students Magdelene D. Barjolo and Alexandria C. Ligon placed second in the competition, which features innovation and products from student teams representing all 10 schools in the BIG EAST Conference.

“This is only a beginning for these students—and for St. John’s,” said Kevin James, Assistant Dean, College of Professional Studies.

“We will continue to encourage and support our students as they develop new ideas. Our second-place win in this challenge shows that we are becoming a real player in the world of innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Magdelene, who is majoring in Psychology, and Alexandria, a Health and Human Services major, plan to continue building connections and pitching their idea, Sending Her Essentials (SHE), to potential investors over the next year. SHE is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supplying young women, both nationally and internationally, with the necessities for womanhood. Along with the second-place distinction, the students received a $3,000 honorarium to help fund their startup.

“We have come a long way,” said Luca Iandoli, Associate Dean, College of Professional Studies. “Over the past several years, we have seen students really embrace the innovative spirit here at St. John’s.”

Alexandria and Magdelene were the winners of the second annual Pitch Johnny Competition hosted at St. John’s University. Each BIG EAST institution held their own campus pitch competition, with the winners advancing to compete in the BIG EAST Startup Challenge, which was held on St. John’s University’s Manhattan, NY, campus.

“The Startup Challenge reinforces one of the strategic imperatives of the Conference, which is to enhance academic collaborations across the BIG EAST membership,” said Vince Nicastro, BIG EAST Deputy Athletic Director.