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.

"Entries for the first DNVC have exceeded expectations, in terms of both quantity and quality" says Dr. Dean McFarlin, dean of the School of Business. "With nearly 70 entries representing diverse industries-including some from Duquesne as well as neighboring universities and high schools-the entrepreneurial talent and spirit, particularly here in Pittsburgh, is impressive and inspiring."

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.

The finalists will have access to Duquesne's Center for Excellence in Entrepreneurship maker space and receive 15 hours of consultation with a mentor with relevant entrepreneurship experience. Each team will also have free access to Palo Alto's LivePlan software-the world's leading business plan software designed for entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Finalists will submit an executive summary, business plan and PowerPoint presentation, and will present their submission live and take questions from a panel of judges. Cash prizes totaling $25,000 will be distributed to the finalists. The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place finalist teams will also receive 10 hours of free legal education services from the School of Law and 5 hours of free consulting services from the University's Small Business Development Center. Finalist presentations will be held on Saturday, April 4, at 1:30 p.m.

"We are looking forward to working with a group of exceptional regional entrepreneurs," says Dr. Michele Migliuolo, director of the Center for Excellence in Entrepreneurship. "Our hope for this project is to make entrepreneurship education more accessible to talented individuals in our community and across Duquesne's campus, while showcasing the business school's cutting-edge facilities and resources."

Funding for the DNVC is thanks to the generosity of Bob Mallet, former chairman of Mallet and Company.

For more information, visit, call (412) 396-2538 or email

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and horizon-expanding education. A campus of nearly 8,500 graduate and undergraduate students, Duquesne prepares students by having them work alongside faculty to discover and reach their goals. The Universitys academic programs, community service, and commitment to equity and opportunity in the Pittsburgh region have earned national acclaim.

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January 14, 2020