Now in its seventh year, the Madden Challenge continues to be at the epicenter of the entrepreneurial spirit for the Daniels College of Business. This year The Madden Challenge was expanded to include four innovation categories:
- consumer packaged goods
- packages and containers
- aging population
Nearly 550 students enrolled in the Gateway to Business class this fall. Of the 94 team class projects, 31 teams went on to participate in the Madden Challenge Nov. 2.
Six of the top teams were selected to pitch their business ideas and demonstrated their prototypes to a panel of judges. The six teams included:
- Sent It! – a one-tap app that allows people to generate a unique QR code for connecting simultaneously across multiple social media platforms.
- Cases on Que – a clear plastic phone case with interchangeable wallpapers, allowing people to express their emotions through artisan-crafted phone case designs.
- Omni Safe – an app that fosters creating a safe environment on college campuses for students walking home at night and includes friends-tracking features, locations of blue lights and emergency phones, and general education resources about safety.
- UC UV – a small hand-held device that allows parents to see if they have appropriately applied sun screen to a child. The lens activates the UV rays emitting from the skin to determine coverage of sun screen.
- Home in Need – an app that aggregates product needs of homeless shelters and allows donors to review and buy the most needed items.
- Journey – an app that creates a supportive community for people suffering from chronic illnesses. On the app, people can connect with others who suffer from the same illness and share tips and strategies for dealing with the illness.
The six teams pitched to an audience of more than 100 people, including successful entrepreneurs, tech entrepreneurs, angel investors and past Madden Challenge winners.
The judging panel awarded Home in Need first place in the App/Mobile category and first place in the overall competition.
“I was in complete shock,” said Alyssa Fregelette, one of the six-member Home in Need team. Other team members are Preeti Saldanha, Sophie McGinnis, Raquel Blumenstein, Emma Soderstrom and Imani Manley-Coates. “I was so happy, I ran down the steps and gave Preeti and Emma the biggest hugs telling them I was so proud and that we did it.”
Fregelette credits Preeti Saldanha with the app idea. Saldanha volunteered with the homeless community in her hometown of Berkeley, California and thought the idea of matching donors with the needs of homeless shelters would be useful.
“We really want to make a reality out of this project,” Fregelette said. “Right now, Dr. Haag is advising us to read a few books, to get together and create an agreement between the team members who are staying with the project, and finally to just completely solidify all of our plans and perfect what we have.”
“When you challenge students to achieve beyond what they believe they can do, they will in fact exceed your wildest expectations,” said Stephen Haag, director of the Madden Challenge and professor of entrepreneurship. “We have done that every year in the Madden Challenge, and our students continue to demonstrate poise, grace, and the innovative spirit far beyond our expectations.”
Haag credits the success of the course to the Madden family.
“When students arrive on campus in their first quarter, they all hear about the Madden Challenge. Even before classes start, they are excited to participate in the competition,” he said. “Because of the Madden Challenge Competition, the University of Denver and the Daniels College of Business are reshaping the future of education.”
Other Madden Challenge winners include Cases on Que, taking home first place in the packages and containers category and second place in the overall competition. UC UV received third place overall and first in the consumer packaged goods category.