Marquette’s Kohler Center for Entrepreneurship, Social Innovation Initiative and Milwaukee-based Brady Corporation will partner for the annual Brewed Ideas Challenge, which will be held virtually on Friday, April 28, from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m.
The Shark Tank-style student pitch competition awards $25,000 in seed money to first- and second-place winners on two tracks: social venture and traditional business. There will also be prizes for the Audience Choice, the Brady Innovation Award, Excellence in Inclusive Impact, and the Sodexo Student Startup Award, a new recognition this year.
Registration to watch the pitch competition in person at the 707 Hub is open to the public and available online. There will be a livestream available, and a link will be sent to registrants to watch the program virtually.
Ten finalists were chosen for the competition — they have been mentored by leaders at Brady Corporation and they participated in virtual workshops led by the 707 Hub leading up to the live pitch event. The finalists, in pitch order, include:
- Drink On (Mary Schumar)
- TuneConnect (Kieran McDonnell)
- Intelligent Plant Pot (Danny Hudetz)
- The GreyBand (Thomas Florian)
- SOL PAD (Bruce Deal, JJ Mansour and Ben Doyle)
- PASS [Pressure Alerting Seating System] (Jared Pilet)
- Professional Development Fellowship (Alma Sandoval, Fatima Jimenez and Maria Tijerina)
- Wudu You (Jack Killian and Leen Mortada)
- Ball Different LLC (Bennett Barr)
- Without Bounds MKE (Arianna Balton)
The competition will be judged by Brien Christopherson, vice president of research and development at Brady Corporation; Nicole Westenberger, vice president of marketing at Brady Corporation; Akin Owolabi, co-founder and chief technology officer at Cura; and Mehul Desai, founder and CEO at DeZai.
The Brewed Ideas Challenge is sponsored by the Brady Foundation and programmed by the 707 Hub, which houses the Kohler Center for Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation Initiative. This is the 10th year Marquette and Brady Corporation have partnered on pitch competitions. The program has awarded more than $185,000 during that time. Past winners include Community. Books. YOU., Marquette Career Closet, Nubian’s Way, Liv a Little Ice Cream, The Color of English, Sendgineering, and Complete Shaping.