May 08, 2019

The Dot Wins Top Prize in Business Pitch Competition

Susquehanna’s second annual House of Hawks competition brought entrepreneurial students before a panel of judges to pitch their business ideas for $2,300 in cash prizes.

Contestants were each given 90 seconds to present their business ideas before taking questions.

The four-person team of The Dot walked away the winner, with a $1,000 prize. Team members are Ali Hordeski ’20, a music performance major from Dresher, Pennsylvania; Tara Montis ’19, a luxury brand marketing and management major from Williamsport, Pennsylvania; Hannah Witt ’19, a business administration major from Robbinsville, New Jersey; and Courtney Young ’19, a strategic communications and public relations major from Newport, Pennsylvania.

The Dot is a customizable subscription for feminine-hygiene products to girls aged 10 to 14. The organization follows a buy-one-give-one business model. For every kit sold, the customer has the power to choose where the other kit is sent, with the goal of increasing access to feminine hygiene products among adolescent girls who live below the poverty level in the United States.

The Dot also earned special recognition from the Uncommon Individual Foundation, which funds Susquehanna’s Dr. Richard E. and Sally F. Caruso Mentoring and Innovation Center in the Blough-Weis Library. Hordeski, Montis, Witt and Young will present their business plan to the foundation at a later date.

Lori Ellison, assistant professor of management in the Sigmund Weis School of Business, said participants at this year’s event were encouraged to develop projects to address social change.

“We went above and beyond the rules of Shark Tank by asking our students to use entrepreneurship as a tool to solve social problems that have gone too long unaddressed,” Ellison said.

Junior Donovan Gayles, a political science and public policy major, from Budd Lake, New Jersey, won second place ($600) for Rising Star, a nonprofit organization to mentor younger students while encouraging them to engage in social action in their communities.

Junior Alex Burman, a business administration major from Wallingford, Pennsylvania, won third place ($400) for The Key, an app that aggregates on-campus events.

First-year student Marcellus Martin, a business administration major from Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, won fan favorite ($300) for Dorm Drop, a food delivery app that delivers from on-campus dining locations.

Other participants were:

  • Marvin Watts ’20, luxury brand marketing and management, No Basic Bundles, an e-commerce website offering high quality hair extensions and hair care products.
  • Joseph Morante ’21, finance, Thoth EDU, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to prepare students of color to excel in the real world.
  • Harry Bridgers ’21, business administration, The Bridgers Foundation, a nonprofit organization that seeks to inform and educate neglected communities seeking entrepreneurial and/or educational opportunities.

A keynote address was delivered by Bria Deveaux, program coordinator for the Uncommon Individual Foundation’s Entrepreneur Mentoring Program and co-founder of Project Limestone, a nonprofit in the Bahamas dedicated to empowering students through athletics and STEM education.