After many months of work, three student-led entrepreneurial teams win thousands in prizes

April 23, 2018

They worked for seven months – crafting their mission and message, meeting with business mentors and developing their products. Then came April 20, when nine teams squared off in a Shark Tank-like competition at Regis University’s first Innovation Challenge, and only one could walk away the winner.

That winner was Repurpose Bowties. CEO Paul Hunter and COO Charlee Riggio were awarded $10,000.

“We’ve been broke college kids these last five years,” Riggio said. “We started this with zero money and have been investing back in everything we make. Hopefully, this will provide a little stability.”

The second-place team, WALLREST ponchos, won $5,000 in funding, while third-place finisher Colorado Craft Bottling won $1,000. All three teams earned work space in the University’s Innovation Center.

About 250 people attended the event, which was free and open to the public. Attendeees were encouraged to vote for their favorite startup business. The teams pitched their business ideas to a panel of judges, who judged their ideas on desirability, feasibility, viability and presentation. 

The guest judges included Jamie Gronowski, CEO of Gronowski Advisory Services; Javier Tafoya, Vice President of AXA advisors; Kirk Mielenz, CEO and founder of RevGen Partners; Al Rosabal, CEO of Galvanize; and Pat Landrum, executive director of Social Venture Partners.

Each team gave a five-minute presentation that was followed by four minutes of questions from the judges.

The competition launched in October with more than 50 students attending an informational session. A semifinals competition was held in December to determine the top teams. The startup businesses represented the cybersecurity, video production and neuromarketing industries, among others.

Vic Ahmed, founder and CEO of the Centennial-based Innovation Pavilion, which brings businesses together in shared workspace, spoke earlier in the evening about “How to Incubate a Good Idea.”

The event was held in the Mountain View Room of St. Peter Claver, S.J., Hall on Regis’ Northwest Denver Campus. For more information about the Innovation Challenge, visit https://www.regis.edu/CBE/Centers/Innovation.aspx.

Established in 1877, Regis University is a premier, globally engaged institution of higher learning in the Jesuit tradition that prepares leaders to live productive lives of faith, meaning and service. Regis University, one of 28 Jesuit universities in the nation, has four campus locations in the Denver metro area and Colorado Springs and extensive online program offerings with more than 11,000 enrolled students. For more information, visit www.regis.edu.