Stillman student is named a winner in UPitchNJ competition

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SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — Sophomore Ryan Skolnick represented Seton Hall University in the first ever statewide collegiate business model competition and came home with a win. Skolnick, who competed against student teams from universities throughout the state, was awarded the second-place prize for AVEHO, which aims to teach students foreign languages in a video-game format. The first-place prize went to Princeton University for BoxPower, a business idea involving providing Indian reservations with portable, inexpensive diesel engines where traditional energy sources are scarce. Montclair State University’s team snagged the third-place prize for Karuda, a business idea to develop a new line of natural cosmetics.

The contest gave students an opportunity to showcase their entrepreneurial skills before a panel of judges with diverse business backgrounds in return for cash prizes and business services. Skolnick will receive $1,000 and business services, and a coaching breakfast with Mario Casabona, founder and managing director of TechLaunch, New Jersey’s investor-led technology and business accelerator.

The top three finalists will also receive a $2,500 scholarship to Draper University’s summer program.

The competition was sponsored by the New Jersey Collegiate Entrepreneurship Consortium, which represents the entrepreneurship education programs at New Jersey’s four-year colleges and universities. Teams from 11 universities competed in the inaugural competition.

Students were judged by serial entrepreneur and astronaut Greg Olsen; Caren Franzini, formerly with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority; Betty Manetta of Argent Associates and Seton Hall University regent; Anthony Frasier of The Phat Startup; and Marty Johnson of Isles Inc.

“We are very proud of Ryan Skolnick for representing Seton Hall University in UPitchNJ,” Susan Scherreik, founding director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies in the Stillman School of Business and chairwoman of the UPitchNJ Planning Committee, said in a press release. The prime aim of the competition, she added, “is to showcase the terrific entrepreneurship on our college campuses and provide our students with a forum that will help increase their odds of success.

“We see UPitchNJ as a network for students to meet each other, make new friends and sow the seeds for future business collaborations.”

Skolnick is a member of the Stillman School of Business’ Gerald P. Buccino ’63 Center for Leadership Development and is majoring in management, marketing and information technology. He studied six foreign languages in elementary and high school, and named his business AVEHO for the Latin word meaning “to carry” a language with you. He previously won $6,000 as the first-place winner in Pirates Pitch last year.

Photos Courtesy of Seton Hall University