It’s been five years since Devon O’Dwyer’s team took home first place in the Diamond Challenge, and she hasn’t stopped pursuing her entrepreneurial goals ever since. Devon’s original venture was Virtual Tutors, an interactive, online tutoring platform that would connect high school students who had succeeded in specific courses, with students who were struggling with the same subject. Her team came in first place in the business innovation competition of Diamond Challenge 2014. Devon says, “My Diamond Challenge experience taught me how to fully develop an idea, present that idea in front of a large crowd and field questions from judges. It definitely helped me to hone my public speaking skills and look at a problem as an opportunity to develop a creative solution.”
After competing in Diamond Challenge and graduating from high school, Devon continued her education at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Upon graduating in May 2019, Devon will join the Venture for America (VFA) fellowship program. Venture for America is a two-year program for recent college graduates who aspire to become startup leaders and entrepreneurs. The fellows learn important skills during a training camp and then work for two years as full-time employees in 14 cities across America. Later down the line, VFA helps the Fellows start their own companies, utilizing resources such as crowdfunding and awards given by the program. When asked what she hopes to gain from her time as a fellow, Devon says, “I am excited to join a network of recent graduates that I can learn from professionally and personally and move to a new city where I can further develop my skills in a project management, operations, or customer success capacity.”
As Devon prepares for graduation and the start of her fellowship, she is grateful for her experiences with the Diamond Challenge and all that she learned through the program. She encourages other young entrepreneurs to apply for the competition and pursue their goals. “My biggest piece of advice would be to practice your pitch in front of different types of audiences and to think of what kinds of questions the judges may ask ahead of time,” she advises. “This way, you can already have developed answers to potential questions and think about how to best defend your idea, which is a good skill both in the Diamond Challenge and life.”
The Diamond Challenge community is proud to foster successful entrepreneurs like Devon, and it’s clear that she will continue to have a positive and significant impact on the world through her post-graduation plans with Venture for America. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
No matter where our Diamond Challenge alumni go, we are constantly amazed by how they continue to make an impact on the world for the better.
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About Horn Entrepreneurship
Horn Entrepreneurship serves as the University of Delaware’s creative engine for entrepreneurship education and advancement. Built and actively supported by successful entrepreneurs and thought leaders, Horn Entrepreneurship empowers aspiring innovators and entrepreneurs as they pursue new ideas for a better world.