– Is a Wofford College student the next Jeff Bezos or Mark Zuckerberg? Will the next big thing be created in a dorm room on Wofford’s campus?
Bezos’ business giant Amazon started in a garage, while Zuckerberg and his roommates started Facebook in their Harvard dormitory.
Whether it’s a garage or a dorm room, businesses and community impact projects start from nothing but ideas and inspiration. What matters is where they go from there.
At Wofford College, students participating in the annual Impact & Launch Competition on Saturday, March 22, will get a chance to take the next step with their ideas.
The projects of the top 10 finalists in the competition – modeled on ABC’s hit series “Shark Tank” – will vie for more than $20,000 in cash and prizes to fund their businesses or community impact projects.
The finalists – whose projects range from providing health services to diabetics in developing nations to exercise programs for elementary children
to a professional development organization, from creative food to innovative sunglasses – will each have three minutes to pitch their ideas and seven minutes to respond to questions from a panel of judges.
The students competing in the event are part of the Impact and Launch programs of The Space in the Mungo Center
, which provides Wofford students with the ability to build on their liberal arts education by adding professional skills desired by employers and graduate schools through five distinct programs.
Among the programs are Impact, a competitive four-year scholarship program offered to incoming and current students that teaches new essential skills such as design thinking, entrepreneurship and the consultative approach to problem solving through projects-based experiences, and Launch, the college’s entrepreneurial group that provides guidance and expertise to help students from idea development to business plan to organization structure to define and create their own companies.
The competition will be held at 4:30 p.m. in The Space in the Mungo Center
in the Michael S. Brown Village Center on Evins Street on Wofford’s campus. The public is invited to attend the free event, but space is limited. Register by March 19 by going to www.wofford.edu/impactLaunchComp.
Attendees may drop in at the event or stay for the entire competition.
All students involved in the Impact and Launch programs created projects for the competition, and those who did not make the finals will display their projects at the event.
Here is a listing of all of the 10 finalists and their projects: Impact Student Projects:
Ashley O'Cain, 2016, Biology
Providing glucose monitors for Type 1 diabetics in areas with limited medical access, Global Glucose works to raise money for blood glucose monitors. Those monitors then go to aiding doctors with the education, diagnosis and treatment of Type 1 diabetes in areas without adequate medical supplies and resources. Get Moving Campaign
Chelsey Lawrence, 2014, Philosophy and Spanish
Stacey Mangan, 2014, History, Spanish and Teacher Education
Parker Johnson, 2014, History
Get Moving is a project that targets elementary school children in low-income areas around Spartanburg to encourage them to lead a healthy lifestyle. Volunteers spend multiple times a week for a couple of hours with children in the fourth and fifth grades playing games and going through a brief warm up. The group aims through the interaction to help the children become more active and give them role models before they enter middle school. Purple Scarf Society
Katherine Buchanan, 2016, French
Led by Wofford women for Wofford women, this organization seeks to prepare women for the professional world. The program focuses on four main areas: What is a Leading Woman, The Professional Search, Making and Keeping Connections, and Mentoring. Through personal interaction, each member will develop an effective resume and gain skills in personal avocation and networking. At the end of the six-week program, each member will be invited to attend a unique networking event, hosted at Wofford College exclusively for members of the Purple Scarf Society. The culmination of skills acquired during the program will be applied during this meeting. The Purple Scarf Society seeks to provide Wofford women with the necessary skills and opportunities to get ahead in the professional world. Fantasyland
Kulsoom Haq, 2015, History and French
Fantasyland is a non-profit project aimed at providing the magic of Disney to the disadvantaged children in Spartanburg. Each spring, Fantsyland is held on the campus of Wofford College and caters to more than 400 children in the community. It consists of several areas each with a different theme inspired by a Disney character. The point of Fantasyland is to fully immerse these children in the magic of Disney to give them that complete Disney World experience, which many of them may never have the chance to experience. Outdoors in the Upstate
Ashlynn Turner, 2014, Biology
Heather Rossi, 2014, Biology
Many high school students in Spartanburg are not given the opportunity to appreciate and benefit from the outdoor adventures offered right in their area. Outdoors in the Upstate is working to change that. By working with local experts and guides, these students will be exposed to outdoor activities through safe and fun expeditions. They will push themselves and test their limits. By collaborating with other students, they will learn communication and leadership skills while enhancing their personal responsibility and self-awareness. In addition, they will be having fun in an encouraging environment. The impact from these experiences will stay with them throughout their lives. Launch Student Projects:
Moody’s Wofford Wash
Billy Moody, 2016, Accounting
Billy Moody’s project is a laundry service for Wofford College students that also offers ironing, steaming and shoe shining. While most current customers are first-year students or sophomores, he plans to expand his customer base, particularly through marketing in the summer to incoming students. Healthy Al-turn-atives
Hunter Lifchez, 2016, Undeclared
Healthy Al-turn-atives is a food vending services that caters to both the snack lovers and the health conscious. Healthy Al-turn-atives’ objective is to lower the number of diseases related to obesity and poor health habits. Healthy Al-turn-atives cuts through to the root of the problem by offering healthy snack foods at an affordable price. Rent a Bindle
Mason Cantey, 2016, Religion and Spanish
The purpose of Rent a Bindle is to provide an affordable opportunity for families, college students, and others to experience the outdoors. Renting a Bindle is a practical way for family and friends to bond and become closer through camping and exploring the outdoors. The mission of Rent a Bindle is to get families and college students to take a break and step back from their busy lives by providing a no worries weekend getaway. Beach Cakes
Megan Cornnell, 2014, Biology
Beach Cakes is dedicated to providing a healthy alternative to a classic American pastime that anyone, regardless of health restrictions or diet choice, can enjoy. By furthering a culture of respect for animals and the environment, Beach Cakes encourages a health-conscious lifestyle by delivering high-end specialty baked goods that cannot be found anywhere else. Using natural and plant-based goods, the company creates cakes ranging from cupcakes up to large-scale wedding cakes. Swell Shades
Mitchell Saum, 2017, Undeclared
Swell Shades are made of 100 percent all-natural bamboo, making them lightweight, floatable, and affordable. Growing up in Pawleys Island, S.C., losing sunglasses was a constant hassle – especially as the cost of the sunglasses rose. Countless pairs of plastic and metal sunglasses adorn the bottom of the Atlantic and the Waccamaw River. After losing yet another pair of Ray Bans® (and the accompanying Croakies®), Saum realized there had to be a solution. Research quickly showed that bamboo would be the perfect sustainable material for creating sunglasses that would float. The aim was to create a pair that was classic and high quality: thus Swell Shades was born. Judges for the Competition
(full biographies are available at:
(Wofford Class of 2011), assistant marketing manager, Walmart Stores Inc., Bentonville, Ark. Alexis Lamster
, director of people and culture, Carrot Creative John C. “Thunder” Thornton
, founder and CEO, Thunder Enterprises Nick Tippmann
, CEO and co-founder of Nibletz Media and producer of the national Everywhere Else Startup Conference Series Chad Williamson
, director, Noble Institute, Little Rock, Ark.