When I was applying to colleges, a family friend told me his personal motto that he came up with after four years on at Georgetown: “Some Georgetown students want to run the world, others want to save it, but most won’t stop until they do both.” Earlier this week, in Fisher Colloquium, I witnessed that saying come to life.
On Thursday, February 18, Georgetown’s StartupHoyas hosted their pitch event titled “Entrepreneurship: A Force For Good.” The event’s description depicted the night’s goal as “to unite the different groups on campus and come together to showcase the value of social entrepreneurship.” The evening would highlight cura personalis in its impact on the world of business and entrepreneurship.
10 minutes before the event, the room was a blur of dozens of conversations with the only audible bit being the final “It was great meeting you!” or the occasional “I’ll be in touch.” After a brief introduction from StartupHoyas founding director Jeff Reid, the pitches began. The rules were simple: each presenter would be given 2 minutes to convince the judges that their startup was worth investment. After a round of voting, the 1st place pitch would receive a $1,000 investment and a $100 Corp Gift Card, 2nd place would get $500 and a $50 Corp gift card, and the People’s Choice would receive $250 and a $50 Corp Gift Card.
More than anything else, what stood out about the 14 pitches was the diversity of ideas they encompassed. Topics ranged from an advanced fantasy sports algorithm to an infrastructure company that connected cellphone users to available construction jobs in developing nations. However, at the end of the night, three ideas emerged on top. The People’s Choice award went to Kesiah Clement (SFS ‘19) for her company Ciudadano, a “multilingual, interactive and online learning platform” for those trying to apply for citizenship within the United States. The prize for second place was awarded to Hemeos, a company founded by Doug Grant (MSB ‘16), Jon Fernandez (MSB ‘16), and Craig Poland (MSB ‘16). Hemeos is “an independent blood stem cell registry” that tries to pair bone marrow donors with patients who are in desperate need of a transplant. Finally, the pitch that took first place in the competition was OneTouch. Created by Kamar Mack (COL 19), OneTouch is something of an UberEats for charity. Mack describes the service as a way to help “charitable individuals…donate money toward meals and harmful-weather kits that are delivered to homeless people.” Additionally, OneTouch users receive points after every donation they make. These points can be used at partnered businesses and restaurants.
After the oversized checks had been signed and the congratulatory handshakes finished, I was able to ask Mr. Reid about his take on the night and he stated, “This event is important for a lot of reasons but maybe most importantly is that we get to bring the Georgetown community together to inspire and educate students about how important entrepreneurship is in making the world better.” As the event concluded and the Colloquium emptied, I found myself finally understanding my family friend’s saying that I had heard about Georgetown students just over two years ago. Some Georgetown students want to run the world, others want to save it. It was the students in that room that won’t stop until they do both.