On Saturday, Georgia State University students Chante Knox and Dia Davis were named the winners of the Schulze Entrepreneurship Challenge, one of the nation’s largest undergraduate business pitch competitions. They secured $75,000 in funding from the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation to support their budding business, DelivHer.
With the hopes of disrupting the feminine care landscape, DelivHer features the “first new innovation in feminine hygiene products in 80 years.” The company's proprietary absorbent cup will be offered through a monthly subscription service.
Knox, DelivHer's founder and inventor, said her experience with the Schulze Entrepreneurship Challenge has been life changing: It was a privilege to be part of such a talented group of competitors, she said.
“I’m so humbled and grateful to have been a part of the competition,” Knox added. “The funds we won will allow us to propel our business without giving away equity in the company.”
Davis -- Knox's partner and investor -- is the company's chief operating officer. She was emotional when she found out DelivHer had won the grand prize.
“This moment was the culmination of years of preparation and the tremendous support from the people who stood with us. It brought me back to memories of being a little girl from the inner city dreaming of one day being an entrepreneur,” she said.
The Schulze Entrepreneurship Challenge drew more than 100 entries representing 61 colleges and universities across the country. The top 25 finalists competed in the finals at the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship April 11-13 during e-Fest, where $250,000 was awarded. Students also made connections during the event with fellow entrepreneurs and received counsel from judges applicable to building their company.
In addition to DelivHer, other winners included:
- Second place, $40,000 – SMARTwheel Inc., University of New Hampshire
- Third place, $20,000 – Vascugenix, University of Arkansas – Little Rock
- Fourth place, $15,000 – SOULMUCH, San Diego State University
- Fifth place, $10,000 – U-Wash, U.S. Airforce Academy
- Social Impact Award, $10,000 – Living Waters Systems, Rutgers University
- Global Impact Award, $10,000 – Dr. Brinsley, Northeastern University
- $70,000 was also awarded in various increments for first-, second- and third-place finishes within each pitch competition room, as well as pitch slam and innovation challenges.
Click here for a full list of finalists and to watch videos about their businesses.
“It was a truly inspiring weekend, to see all the amazing work these students are doing to solve problems that matter and to create innovative new products and services that address those problems,” said Laura Dunham, associate dean of the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship. “And it was a lot of fun to be around all that entrepreneurial energy.”
Stefanie Lenway, dean of the Opus College of Business, thanked Dick Schulze for making this celebration of entrepreneurship for undergraduates possible.
“The festival of entrepreneurship also highlights the strong entrepreneurial spirit that the Schulze School brings to the entire University of St. Thomas,” Lenway said. “After listening to the participants’ pitches at e-Fest, I was left with a strong sense of optimism for the future. The students’ business ideas will positively impact the lives of many.”
The Schulze Entrepreneurship Challenge will host next year’s competition in April 2020. Online submissions will open in November. For more information about the competition, including rules and rubrics for judging, visit eiexchange.com/e-fest.