Hynes Institute kicks off annual challenge



Danielle Butin (right) shared the story of her non-profit the Afya Foundation to inspire students for the Iona Innovation Challenge.

Alison Robles, Editor-in-Chief

The Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation kicked off its third annual Iona Innovation Challenge on Feb. 7.

The Iona Innovation Challenge is a competition that gives students the opportunity to present solutions to real-world problems with the chance to win cash prizes that can make their ideas a reality.

Danielle Butin was the keynote speaker at the kickoff event. Butin isthe founder and CEO of the Afya Foundation, a non-profit organizationthat sends surplus medical supplies to underserved health organizations around the world.

After Butin shared her story to inspire the students in attendance, Assistant Director of the Hynes Institute Lendynette Pacheco-Jorge announced the rules for the Innovation Challenge.

Students can enter the competition solo or as a team, and both undergraduate and graduate students can submit their ideas.

Graduate student Steve Valentin wants to work on an idea with a team, which is a process that drew him to the Innovation Challenge.

“I think the Innovation Challenge provides students the opportunity

to think outside of the box and allow them the ability to be creative and use their imagination on any idea they choose,” Valentin said.

Several workshops will be hosted throughout the month in the Hynes Institute to support students in workshopping their ideas and making them into a reality. The workshops focus on helping students collaborate and create a solid plan for their entrepreneurial efforts.

Participating students must sign up for Startup Tree, an online platform that helps college students organize their entrepreneurial efforts and work with mentors who can help guide them in their process.

With $6000 in cash prizes, the Iona Innovation Challenge can helpstudents make their entrepreneurial ideas a reality. The first-place teamwill receive $3000.

The first milestone for the Innovation Challenge will be on Feb.23. If you are interested in learning more, visit the Hynes Institute in Spellman Hall or visit iona.startuptree.co.