Pioneer Weekend 2021

An annual three-day pitch competition hosted by the Wilson Center for Innovation and Leadership

October 28, 2021

Pioneer Weekend is an annual three-day entrepreneurial innovation competition sponsored by the Wilson Center for Innovation and Leadership. Participating students form teams of three to five members, develop their business plan, get advice from invited mentors, and go through the initial phases of creating a startup. The three-day event culminates in each team pitching their business idea in a limited amount of time. The top three teams are awarded cash prizes. 

    After a keynote speech by Maijid Moujaled ’14 and Ham Serunjogi ’16 on Friday evening, 23 students organized into five teams for the fall 2021 Pioneer Weekend competition. Teams visited with mentors on Saturday and spent the day working on their plans. Pitches and awards were presented on Sunday.

    • The first-place team pitched “FoodSavr.” Shrey Agrawal ’24, Nameera Muhammad Dawood ’23, Michael Andrzejewski ’23, Hwi Jin Jang ’23, and James Lim ’22 were each awarded $500.
    • The second-place team pitched “Stock It!” Kripa Bansal ’24, Vinicius Ono ’24, Jan Gloor ’24, Filip Matic ’24, and Simon Taye ’24 were each awarded $300.
    • The third-place team pitched “Joy Curl.” Aysha Simmonds ’23, Rexford Essilfie ’22, Areeha Ilyas ’25, and Asya Shneerson ’22 were each awarded $150.
    • Other team products included "Canomy" and "Fluentax". 

    Mentors and judges are invited alumni, community members, and Iowa entrepreneurs.

    • Mentors were Kathy Clemons-Beasley ’95, Wesley Schrock ’99, Tolu Alabi ’12, and Kevin Allen (short course instructor sponsored by the Wilson Center).
    • The judging panel included Kerty Levy (Managing Director of Techstars Iowa), Jana Grimes (Grinnell College Human Resources), and Yash Gupta ’20.
    FoodSavr team gives their pitch to the judging panel and other Pioneer Weekend participants and guests.

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