Semi-Finalists Named in ‘New Venture Challenge’ Entrepreneurship Competition

The Palumbo-Donahue School of Business has announced that 17 entrants have advanced to the semi-final round of the 2021-2022 Duquesne New Venture Challenge, which offers cash and service prizes valued at more than $100,000.

The three-stage competition, now in its third year, showcases compelling and innovative start-up ideas from aspiring entrepreneurs from the Pittsburgh region and beyond. All types of business plans were eligible for entry.  

"We're very impressed by the quality and diversity of this year's semi-finalists," said Business Dean Dr. Dean McFarlin. "Collectively, they are difference-making ventures pursuing ambitious goals, and we look forward to seeing them compete for a spot in the final round of the competition."   

During the first stage of the New Venture Challenge, entrants submitted written summaries of their ideas with a one-minute "elevator pitch" video. The top three entrants who received cash prizes for the Best Video Pitch are DisSolves, $2,500; Advanced Optronics, $1,500; and Cerebral Aneurysm Test, $1,000.  

The semi-finalists were selected by a panel of judges comprised of entrepreneurs, executives and investors. The panel considered entrants' summaries, management team, problem/opportunity addressed, proposed solution/product, target market, implementation approach, business model and financial projections, and potential exit avenues.  

The following entrants, listed in alphabetical order, have advanced to the semi-final round of the 2021-2022 Duquesne New Venture Challenge:

  • Advanced Optronics
  • Aquatitan
  • Aware.ai
  • Baby's Breath
  • Blooh
  • Cerebral Aneurysm Test
  • College Thrifts
  • DisSolves
  • E-Carebetics
  • InnovatiVe
  • Kloopify
  • MATIK
  • MimicanGT
  • SimBox
  • SOL REFILL
  • STAT-B
  • Workers First.  

Four of the semi-finalist teams include Duquesne alumni or current students.  

Each semi-finalist will receive $1,000 for participating-assuming they submit the required materials on time-and access to Palo Alto Software's highly regarded LivePlan Business Software. They must submit an executive summary, a short business plan and a five-minute video pitch.  

Up to five finalist teams will be selected to advance to the third stage of the competition in which they collectively will receive service prizes worth an estimated $50,000. Finalists also will:

  • Receive up to 25 hours of access to Bob's Launch Pad and its equipment
  • Receive up to 15 hours of free coaching and advice from an expert mentor
  • Participate in a private meeting with angel group leaders
  • Have continued access to Palo Alto Software's LivePlan Business Software
  • Compete as a finalist in TiE Pittsburgh's selection of the chapter's representative to the global TiE University Pitch Competition.  

Finalists will be announced in early March.

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 University’s academic programs, community service, and commitment to equity and opportunity in the Pittsburgh region have earned national acclaim.

It's time for bigger goals
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