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Downingtown Native Wins Keystone Innovation Zone Business Plan Competition

Sarah Standing, a native of Downingtown, was selected as one of the winners of an innovative idea and business plan competition sponsored by the Pittsburgh Central Keystone Innovation Zone (PCKIZ) in conjunction with the Duquesne University Small Business Development Center.

The competition is held annually to help increase the number of startups and entrepreneurial ventures from students at PCKIZ member institutions engage. Standing, who just completed her freshman year at Duquesne’s A.J. Palumbo School of Business Administration, received a $500 award for a business plan she developed around the fictional company, Sensory Media.

In her business plan, Standing outlined that Sensory Media manufactures sensory integrated technological devices for autistic children. Its main product is a DVD player adorned with several safety features along with sensory integrated slip covers.  The company also has a DVD mailing system similar to Netflix, but it is directed just toward kids and is called Movie Mania.

After being selected as Duquesne University’s first place winner, Standing then competed against first prize winners from PCKIZ partners Carlow University and Point Park University. There, she won second place and was awarded an additional $750. “The experience was challenging but extremely rewarding,” said Standing. “I plan to enter the contest again next year with a fresh and innovative idea.”

Schools included among the PCKIZ partners include Duquesne, Carlow University, the Community College of Allegheny County and Point Park University.

Part of Pennsylvania’s statewide Keystone Innovation Zones, the PCKIZ was created to bring the very best in innovative technology to central Pittsburgh. Led by Duquesne University and the Hill House Economic Development Corp., the PCKIZ brings together internationally recognized higher education institutions, world-class philanthropic foundations, local businesses, regional economic development organizations and the public sector.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.