The seventh annual Diamond Challenge Summit concluded on April 16 with a culminating award ceremony. The ceremony included two special guest appearances from keynote speakers Alex Osterwalder and Ann Makosinski. Osterwalder is a renowned business theorist, author, speaker, consultant, and entrepreneur, known for his work on business modeling and the development of the Business Model Canvas. Makosinski is a 23-year-old inventor, speaker, and writer best known for her invention of a flashlight that runs off the heat of the human hand. Ann is a Time 30 Under 30 honoree, Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree, & an Entrepreneur Magazine Young Millionaire. 79 semifinalists representing 22 countries and 17 states pitched their world-changing ideas on a global stage. After months of hard work from young entrepreneurs globally, here are the winners announced at the finals of Horn Entrepreneurship’s 2021 Diamond Challenge:
EVAC, a Pennsylvania team with members Beibei Zhao (Adult Advisor), Emily Zhang, and Peter Liu, won the business entrepreneurship category and $8,000 for a vacuum cup that reduces bacteria and virus infection in dental offices. ListenIn Inc., a Texas team with members Govardhan Poondi, John Rho, Jungmoo Rho (Adult Advisor), Kaustubh Sonawane, and Shivam Siddaiya, placed second and earned $4,000 for an AI-powered hearing aid. Two teams tied for third place. Innovative Solar, a California team with members Aadi Kale, Aanya Gupta, Anthony Raffetto (Adult Advisor), and Mark Vernik, placed third and won $2,000 for a convex lense that concentrates light onto solar cells to increase energy output. Shift, a California team with members Hazim Ansari (Adult Advisor), Kamran Ansari, and Nadia Ansari, placed third and won $2,000 for a wearable therapy device.
Intutorly, a team from North Carolina and Virginia with members Alexander Joel, Benjamin Joel, Marlene Laro (Adult Advisor), and Sophia Toback, won the social entrepreneurship category and $8,000 for a volunteer elementary school tutor matching platform accessible in 25 states and four countries. Serene, an India and Washington team with members Hasini Geddam, Keerthana Kurapati, and Praveen Kumar Kurapati (Adult Advisor), placed second and earned $4,000 with a mental health app for teenagers. Hello Oasis, a team from Canada with members Cara Yu, Colin Cotton (Adult Advisor), Jocelyn Liu, Sarina Cheng, and Zachary Liu, placed third and won $2,000 for a widespread food oasis. All finalists will join the Entrepreneurial Ventures Summer Accelerator powered by Diamond Challenge and Schoolyard Ventures to further their winning ideas and access an additional $10,000 funding pool.
Topical prizes of $1,500 were awarded to semifinalists demonstrating significant promise and entrepreneurial capacity. Chemours, the Delaware-based leader in using science and innovation to improve lives, offered the first topical prize in 2019. This year’s first Chemours Topical Prize for Covid-19 Safety Solutions in social entrepreneurship went to Clean Mask, a team from New Jersey that sterilizes and recharges N95 masks for multiple time use. The second Chemours prize in social entrepreneurship went to PinkIt, a Maryland team with a video shopping app that expands the nation-wide small business network negatively affected by COVID-19.
The first Delaware Solid Waste Authority Topical Prize for Waste & Recycling Innovation in social entrepreneurship went to Earthlips, a Greece team with zero-waste, natural, and refillable lipsticks. The second Delaware Solid Waste Authority prize in social entrepreneurship went to Lenti-Terre, a team from China with biodegradable daily contact lenses made from cellulose-based hydrogel.
The Gore Topical Prize for Innovation Excellence in business entrepreneurship went to MADS, a Virginia team with a lie detector that accurately detects deception. The Gore prize in social entrepreneurship went to Strabi-Cure, a team from India and Saudi Arabia that uses neuroplasticity and green therapy to improve strabismus.
New this year, Horn Entrepreneurship sponsored an Equity Thru Entrepreneurship Topical Prize awarded to teams with the greatest potential to advance social justice and equality of opportunity. The Horn Entrepreneurship Prize for Equity Thru Entrepreneurship in business entrepreneurship went to Speak UP, a Delaware team with a public speaking app to enforce confident communication. The Horn prize in social entrepreneurship resulted in a tie. The first prize went to AUesome, a California team that provides autism therapy kits. The second prize went to Elevate the Future, a California team with a global nonprofit that increases access to computer science and business education globally.
The Global Prize Award debuted at this year’s Summit, recognizing the top international teams that demonstrate extraordinary entrepreneurship excellence and embody the true spirit of the Diamond Challenge. The business prize went to Queens’ foris labs, a team from Nigeria with a virtual learning application to conduct science experiments. The social prize went to DyslexiaGenius, a China and New Jersey team that provides support to people with dyslexia.
The Summit featured two virtual challenges, run by Grace Zhang and Cassidy Collins, digital marketing interns at Horn Entrepreneurship. Fatima Farela of Guatemala won $100 for creating a high-energy TikTok video promoting entrepreneurial concepts. Kichemy Dorcena from Haiti, Alicia Gan from California, and Tanvi Jammula from Virginia won $100 each in an Instagram Giveaway.
The Diamond Challenge’s presenting partners are the University of Delaware, Capital One and the Paul & Linda McConnell Youth Entrepreneurship Initiative at Horn Entrepreneurship. Other sponsors include Chemours, CSC, Delaware Solid Waste Authority, Gore, and M&T Bank.
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.