The entrepreneurial spirit of St. John’s students this year was not dampened by the pandemic, as evidenced by the James and Eileen Christmas Business Plan Competition and Pitch Event, which was held virtually and hosted by The Peter J. Tobin College of Business on Thursday, April 15.
This year’s competition featured opening remarks by University President Brian J. Shanley, O.P., S.T.L., Ph.D., during which he wished all the teams good luck. Following President Shanley, Dean Norean Sharpe, welcomed the judges and congratulated the students on their success of their new ventures.
This year’s top honors and a prize of $5,000 went to Ivans Esperance for College Savvy, a mobile app designed to facilitate effective business writing, communication, and professionalism within the college undergraduate journey. Second place with a prize of $2,000 went to Tineal De La Cruz for We-Be!, an online educational team building and coaching company. Tied for third place and a prize of $1,000 went to two teams: Steven Sweet for BottleSense App, which connects recyclable bottle consumers and collectors offering a deposit split and Caitlyn Montgomery and Vanessa Navarette for Rubix Roller Rink & Diner, a Queens family-friendly establishment that combines a popular 1980s pastime and 1950s-style restaurant ambience.
A total of ten 15-page business plans were presented to compete for six cash prizes. The top plans were selected by a panel of five alumni and industry experts: James W. Christmas ‘70CBA, ‘10HON and Eileen Christmas, who have sponsored the competition since 2010; keynote speaker Stephen Distante ’88CBA, Chairman and Founder of Vanderbilt Financial Group; Mandisa E. Turner, an entrepreneur and a member of the Tobin Board of Advisors; Albert Bateh‘16TCB, founder of EZ-Net and the winner of the 2016 Competition; and Luca Iandoli, Associate Dean for Global and Online Programs at the Collins College of Professional Studies.
The Pitch Event winners earned $500, $400, and $300 for first, second, and third place finishes, respectively. The first-place winners were Jasmine Nunez and Faryal Mohammad for Jazy's and Far's Ethnic Cuisine. The second-place finish was taken by Nupoor Wadekar and Jeffrey Schrader for PowerPunch SJU. The third-place honor went to Andrea Vittoria Rizzi and Mykael Henry for KeepMoving.
William D. Reisel, Ph.D., Professor of Management serves as the entrepreneurship competition’s director and coordinator.
The entire competition can be viewed here.