PURCHASE, N.Y., Dec. 4, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Two millennial entrepreneurs whose startup organization helps young athletes navigate the complex world of collegiate and professional sports while learning basic pocketbook economics were awarded first prize in the first annual Purchase College Startup Pitching Competition modeled on the popular ABC show "Shark Tank."
Flynance, a student-run startup at Purchase College, State University of New York, was awarded a $5,000 grant facilitated by GenFKD, a not-for-profit organization designed to increase young Americans' understanding financial literacy, entrepreneurship and skills necessary for careers in the new economy. The organization aims to help young adults better understand the new economy and provide better outcomes for students after graduation.
"This entire experience will help them better understand the role of business in society and the need for better financial and economic awareness among young Americans," said Justin Dent, executive director of GenFKD.
Sheldon "Max" Pearce, CEO and founder of Flynance, received the award from professor Liya Palagashvili, assistant professor of Economics at Purchase College. Also present for the award was Flynance's co-founder Derick Ansah, a '16 Purchase alum in economics.
The students' emerging organization will host camp-like sessions that provide athletic development and financial literacy skills that can help young athletes pursue and maintain enduring careers and economic stability. Pearce and his co-founder seek to counter any negative stigmas associated with athletes by empowering them to succeed in areas beyond athletics.
The second place award of $2,000 was presented to Liam Nethercott for a campus food delivery service concept, SUNY Purchase Delivers. The audience selected another student and her startup, IRL. Danellys Wong received an honorable mention for her organization's potential social impact. Wong's and her co-founder, Justin Hess designed IRL as a collaborative platform for under-represented artists.
The startup pitching competition was the culmination of a for-credit course taught by GenFKD and its Entrepreneur-In-Residence Vadim Revzin with support from Professor Palagashvili and Purchase College. The semester-long course focused on entrepreneurship and career-readiness through an intensive curriculum developed by GenFKD that included storytelling, networking, data analysis, budgeting and finance, pitching, leadership, negotiation strategies, taxes and regulation.
"Our Purchase students are so full of creativity and great ideas, and we're thrilled to work with GenFKD and help students bring their business ideas to fruition," said Palagashvili.
The "sharks" were made up of a diverse group of entrepreneurs who provided invaluable feedback after each student presented. Among the sharks:
- Danny Nardo, co-founder of Nardo's Naturals, who received an investment from Barbara Corcoran on ABC's "Shark Tank"
- Joe Bayen, an experienced entrepreneur and founder of Lenny Credit
- David Liu, of the XO Group Inc. (formerly The Knot)
- Sarah Hill, The CEO of Bookstr
- Courtney Cachet, television personality, celebrity designer
- Nick Ohnell, former founder and CEO of Communications Supply Corp; founder of Ohnell Capital; and philanthropist
- Justin Dent, GenFKD's Executive Director
"GenFKD maintains a network of student organizations on more than 30 college campuses across the nation," Dent said. "For-credit entrepreneurship courses, such as the class at Purchase College, are emerging on many campuses."
GenFKD develops curriculum for the new economy, one that is built on the core values of entrepreneurship. The organization provides students with the opportunity to develop business skills within higher education to improve their ability to thrive after graduation.