From Idea to Launch

Duquesne New Venture Challenge Finalists

Five finalists have been selected for the inaugural Duquesne New Venture Challenge (DNVC) — an entrepreneurship challenge open to the Pittsburgh community and beyond, hosted by the Palumbo-Donahue School of Business. 

The finalist teams and their products are (in alphabetical order):

  • Biomotivate - wearable artificial intelligence (AI) wristbands that can help counselors track patient psychological behavior patterns to encourage those being treated for substance abuse to remain in treatment.
  • LeanMed - innovative medical equipment designed to improve access to healthcare in low-resource regions.
  • Nollapelli - bedsheets designed to regulate moisture, temperature and friction to promote wellness during sleep.
  • Sparkwear - a wristwatch device used during networking events to help event attendees find other guests with similar interests.
  • Talkmeup - an AI smart coach training software that assists users with improving communication skills.


Prizes valued at approximately $85,000!

Our two-stage business plan competition is open to anyone in the Pittsburgh region and beyond.


How it works:

Stage one

Entrants submit a short description of their business idea along with a two-minute video elevator pitch. $5,000 in cash prizes. Judges select finalists.

Stage two

Finalists submit an executive summary, business plan, PowerPoint presentation, and make a live presentation to a panel of judges followed by Q&A. $25,000 in cash prizes. Finalists are assigned mentors and receive free access to Palo Alto's LivePlan software.

Rules, Regulations and Policies


Finalists have access to the resources of our sponsors:

  • Duquesne University School of Law
  • Duquesne Small Business Development Center
  • Center of Excellence in Entrepreneurship, including sophisticated equipment in our maker space-Bob's Launch Pad.  Special thanks to judge Bob Mallet, Former Chairman, Mallet & Company, for making it happen!
  • Palo Alto LivePlan software.