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Redeemer Team wins Madden Challenge March 8

Team Redeemer, 2018 Madden Challenge winners

Palms are sweating. Hearts are racing. The energy is palpable as teams prepare to present their app ideas to a panel of investors. The six student teams are participating in an event called the Madden Challenge which has taken place at the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver since 2012.

Thursday, March 8, was the latest competition where team Redeemer won with their idea where you ask your app (using your voice, not typing) a question like, “How do I redeem pizza boxes?”  The app tells you whether it is recyclable, compostable or landfill material. The judges loved the idea of a hands-free way to “redeem” the environment.

Daniels gives all of its first-year students a crash course in entrepreneurship, requiring students to split into teams to design and prototype a mobile app and write a business plan to bring it to market. Nearly 800 students, some from Daniels and some from across campus, take the “Gateway to Business” course each year. Then, about six teams per quarter enter into the Madden Challenge to compete for a chance to present their final product to a panel of investors.

The Challenge is made possible thanks to philanthropic funding provided by John W. Madden Jr., a local commercial real estate developer, who donated $125,000 in 2012 to start the competition. Now, through the Madden Family Charitable Foundation, Mr. Madden is donating an additional $250,000 to fund the program for the next 10 years.

Mr. Madden’s granddaughter, Blair Madden Bui, CEO of the John Madden Company, has enjoyed seeing firsthand the success of the program. A Daniels MBA graduate herself, Madden Bui (MBA 2006) remains highly involved with the Challenge and attends the pitch competitions each quarter.

Stephen Haag

“The Gateway to Business Program is a true example of across disciplinary collaboration, which is a reflection of how visions are actualized in the real world,” she said. “The business community doesn’t operate in a vacuum and students get a crash course at 18 years old on how businesses really accomplish things. This program is an amazing platform from which to jump, and we are proud to support it!”

“It’s amazing to see how far these young people have come in such a short period of time,” says Stephen Haag, director of Entrepreneurship at Daniels. “We are so grateful to the Maddens for their generosity. The gift allows us to fund the competition and also provide seed monies to teams wanting to move their app into the marketplace. In addition, the Madden Challenge is special because so many of the Challenge participants go onto launching their own businesses. This really is an incubator for the future of so many companies.”