Isenberg OIM major Igor De Sousa-Vieria (pictured below) and his venture, ClassMate, were grand prize winners in the Grinspoon Virtual Celebration of Entrepreneurial Spirit Awards ceremony on April 28. Sponsored by the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation in Agawam and attended by 250 guests from the business community and academe, the event celebrated student entrepreneurs and their ventures from UMass, Holyoke Community College, Amherst College, Smith College, and 10 other local colleges and universities. Highlights of the evening included live pitch finals and stories from student entrepreneurs. Six judges from local banks chose the winners.
A personal scheduling and time management app for students, ClassMate adapts to individual needs, including sleep schedules and study habits. That helps students focus on learning while reducing stress from time management issues. To date, students at over 100 colleges and universities have downloaded the app. The venture’s troika of student entrepreneurs also includes OIM student Nicholas DeCastro and Shelby Anderson, a computer systems engineering major. Read more about the development of ClassMate here.
A second honor—the People’s Choice Award—went to Soter System and its student founder, Aurora Axiotis of Western New England University. The venture’s personal safety key fob and car sensors detect whether an attacker has entered one’s vehicle.
In addition, two student entrepreneurs and two recent graduates shared their startup stories. The speakers included Isenberg HTM graduate Nathan Yee for Eco Bottling, Holyoke Community College graduate Nicole Ortiz for Crave Food Truck, Amherst College student Jack Trent for Checkmate Supplements, and Aimee Salmon for African Dance and Fitness. Finally, profiles of six additional student ventures were added to the online Grinspoon Gallery of Entrepreneurs.