Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Loyolans win big in second annual LaunchU competition

James Hufnagel
Graduate student Adele Colson pitching her idea at the LaunchU finals on Sept. 7, 2023. LaunchU awarded 4 teams $5,000 to $10,000 to start up their business idea.

Loyola graduate students, alumni, and faculty had the chance to win $5,000 to $10,000 in the second annual LaunchU entrepreneurship competition.

Eight teams of an original 49 applicants pitched their ideas at the final competition to a panel of judges and were scored on a rubric. Four of the finalists were selected as winners, two teams earning $10,000 and the other two winning $5,000 to help start up their idea on Sept. 7, 2023.

Assistant Director for the Center for Entrepreneurship and Community Development, Sam McCabe was happy with this year’s competition and their improvement throughout the entire LaunchU pitch process.

“I don’t think it could’ve gone any better. I was blown away by the work these teams have done, even between the first and final round of pitches,” McCabe said.

Applicants applied during the spring 2023 semester. Of the 49 who applied this spring, 20 were selected to move on to a two-week bootcamp in May, where 19 speakers and over 30 mentors spoke and worked with the teams to prepare them for the first pitches in August.

Only 15 teams made it to the August pitch competition. Of those, the final eight teams were chosen.

McCabe said this year, a wide variety of applicants applied among the Loyola community, bringing a diverse pool of ideas.

“We had alumni from as early as the late 80’s to folks who just graduated in the spring. We had some faculty and staff,” McCabe said. “We just had a wide diversity of alumni, faculty, staff, and students and it really just was a great group of people we got to work with this year.”

This variety in teams and ideas from Loyola is something McCabe said the Center for Entrepreneurship is proud to show off to the world.

“We get to work with this really diverse group of members of the Loyola community and show off to New Orleans and beyond the exciting entrepreneurs we have on campus,” he said.

The two $10,000 winning recipients were Marcel’s, a company of cocktail syrups made from a family recipe, and Dependent Care, a platform that simplifies and modernizes Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account to make childcare more affordable for parents.

HandOffur, an app that makes the Tulane Classifieds on Facebook safer and reachable through a student email, and Newrospace, a supplement to relieve menopause symptoms, were the two $5,000 winners.

Aubin Duchier, a spring 2022 Loyola graduate and owner of HandOffur, said the environment created within LaunchU’s competition, especially with the students, was something he adored.

“It’s so great,” Duchier said. “They created this kind of community and you have all those students that want that looking up to you.”

What LaunchU does for students is something Duchier finds admirable, especially after feeling as though there weren’t as many resources for entrepreneurs during his time at Loyola.

“What they’re trying to create is like there’s no fear to say ‘I want to be an entrepreneur,’” Duchier said.

Although Duchier said the $5,000 was only a portion of what he needs to fully get his idea of a more sustainable Tulane Classifieds app, the experience of the competition made it worth continuing to pursue the app.

“It helps a lot to get started. It’s the validation that this is an actual need and solution that we have to push and make things happen,” Duchier said.

Although the LaunchU competition is for the Loyola communitey, the Center for Entrepreneurship hosts several smaller competitions for current students, including the Side Hustle fair in the spring where students can present their side hustle for a chance to win scholarship money.

With this year’s competition wrapped up, the center is now working to prepare for these competitions and applicants for next year’s LaunchU competition, which will also open in the spring.

“We are constantly trying to provide as many resources as we can for our students,” McCabe said. “We’re excited to be able to help our Loyola entrepreneurs anyway that we can.”

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About the Contributors
Kloe Witt
Kloe Witt, Managing Editor for Digital
Kloe Witt currently serves as The Maroon's Managing Editor for Digital. Kloe is a sophomore double majoring in journalism and environmental studies, though is interested in pursuing a career in media services for recreational therapy camps. In their free time, Kloe is usually watching Criminal Minds, listening to Taylor Swift, or reading new books. Kloe can be reached [email protected].
James Hufnagel
James Hufnagel, Senior Staff Videographer
James Hufnagel is the Senior Staff Videographer for The Maroon. He is a junior Journalism major with a minor in Business Administration. James enjoys spending his time on the basketball court, playing guitar, or in Audubon Park. James can be reached at [email protected].

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