Blackstone LaunchPad and Techstars at Syracuse University Libraries (LaunchPad) announced winners of the 2020 Impact Prize competition for social entrepreneurship held virtually on Nov. 13. Twenty-eight student teams from Syracuse University and SUNY-ESF pitched ideas for a chance to win $15,000 in prizes, supported by generous donations from Carl and Marcy Armani, in honor of Dr. Gay Culverhouse and Dr. Gisela von Dran. The Impact Prize was the first event in celebration of the University’s Global Entrepreneurship Week.
2020 Impact Prize Winners Were:
- $7,000, Justin Diaz ’23, College of Engineering and Computer Science, EcoBamboo Living
- $3,000, Sam Hollander ’22, Whitman School and Newhouse School, FSCL
- $3,000, Dana Immerso ’20, G ’21, College of Arts and Sciences, You’re Not Alone
- $1,000, Jackson Ensley ’22, Whitman School, Popcycle
- $500, Ben Ford ’23, Whitman School, DoNation
This year’s competition also featured teams from a new inclusive entrepreneurship program, jointly offered by the College of Visual and Performing Arts, InclusiveU and the LaunchPad, featuring innovations to support persons with intellectual disabilities. Winners of the Intelligence ++ Inclusive Entrepreneurship Room were:
- $500, Justin Diaz ’23, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Adaptive Xbox Controller
- $500, James Ruhlman ’22, College of Visual and Performing Arts, Inclusive Interactive Installation
Judges for the Impact Prize were LaunchPad alumni who have either launched ventures or are in innovation careers and included: Amanda Chou, Kaiser Permanente; Audrey Miller, Watson Institute; Dylan Gans, Good Uncle; Jack McCarthy, Prosek Partners; Jake deHahn, Breinify and AccessibleMasks.org; Josh Jackson, Promptous; Kate Beckman, Ripple Match; Kennedy Patlan, Ashoka; Phil McKnight, Promptous; Quinton Fletchall, Conifer Research; and Ryan Williams, Good Life Foundation.
Two special judges also participated: Megan McCann, principal & CAO, portfolio operations at The Blackstone Group; and Jill Rothstein, award-winning accessibility, inclusion and innovation advocate and chief librarian, Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library at The New York Public Library.