A team of Hollins students sponsored by the university’s Entrepreneurial Learning Institute received honors at the 2020 Elon Innovation Challenge, held February 29 at Elon University in North Carolina.
De Faustina Camacho ‘23, Olivia Dannon ‘20, Zahin Mahbuba ‘23, and Chanmolis Mout ’23 were recognized with an Honorable Mention and the Best Prototype Award at the annual event, where teams of students from several universities engage in a one-day social innovation competition to solve a compelling real-life issue. This year, 20 teams from four states developed solutions to improve student health and well-being on college campuses.
“For our project, we had to identify the value proposition, target market, and competitive landscape, as well as our market strategy and business model,” Dannon explained. “The solid foundation of business and entrepreneurial concepts our team has learned at Hollins was a large factor in our overall performance.”
She added, “I have always had a strong interest in innovation and entrepreneurship, and having this opportunity to put that interest into practice was rewarding.”
Mahbuba believes her presentation capabilities improved dramatically as a result of participating in the event. “Coming up with a problem and a viable solution in less than ten hours and then convincing a panel of expert judges really helped me grow my skills. I also learned a lot from watching others articulate their ideas and offer other methodologies toward solving problems.”
The first-year student is planning to employ what she experienced at the Innovation Challenge within her own campus community. “This further enlightened me as far as both problem finding and problem solving, and opens more doors for me to serve Hollins.”
Hollins’ Entrepreneurial Learning Institute combines the hallmarks of a liberal arts education – critical thinking, creativity, problem solving, and leadership – with the entrepreneurial spirit and mindset that are driving opportunity and business growth in the 21st century.
Photo: Members of the Hollins entrepreneurship team with Alyssa Martina, director of the Doherty Center for Creativity, Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Elon University (far left) and Karen Messer-Bourgoin (far right), director of Hollins’ Entrepreneurial Learning Institute and professor of practice in the university’s economics and business department.