Entrepreneurial Center Completes Inaugural Senior Capstone Project

On May 20, nine students pitched their business ideas to a group of peers and faculty as part of the inaugural Senior Capstone Project for St. John’s Entrepreneurial Center for Innovation and Social Impact.
The Senior Capstone Project is an opportunity for students to collaborate outside the classroom as they create business-oriented solutions to real-world challenges impacting the global community. This year’s students began working on their Capstone Project in January with an extensive look at the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. The seniors were challenged to select one of the goals and create a new product or service to meet it. They then split into three groups that each chose to address a different goal related to good health, clean water or improved industry and innovation.
 
The semester-long project culminated at Monday’s pitch session, when the students presented their final business plans to a group of faculty members and peers who are enrolled in the Capstone Program for next year. The audience then had the opportunity to ask the presenters questions about their business models, plans for growth and path forward.
 
This year’s Senior Capstone Projects included:
 
H2NOWASTE – Gabby Williams ’19 and Sari Finn ’19
Water is a necessity that should be accessible to all. When individuals are deprived of drinkable water, they may experience a number of psychological and physical setbacks. H2NOWASTE is a social enterprise dedicated to providing access to clean water for all. When consumers in the United Sates purchase H2NOWASTE’s water filtration systems and reusable containers, water filtration systems can be provided at no cost to the communities impacted most by this crisis. 
 
Drive Safe – Jared Byrd ’19, Eric Eichler ’19 and Robert Scalzo ’19
Distracted driving is an increasingly large problem for high school students. Drive Safe is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating teen drivers about the dangers of distracted driving. Through innovative marketing techniques on the social media platforms teens use most, Drive Safe will use interactive videos to engage teenagers in this important conversation. 
 
Sizing Up - Quinten Johnson ’19, Ca-She’ Mitchell ’19, Ron Cook ’19 and Tim Swope ’19
The team at Sizing Up recognizes that online shopping isn’t always easy. Sizes are inconsistent from store to store, and even from product to product. Sizing Up is a virtual sizing software that allows individuals to create online avatars (or profiles) of themselves that will help them more accurately select the correct size and avoid the hassle of merchandise returns and exchanges. 
 
“The inaugural year of the Senior Capstone Project has not only been a huge step forward for our Entrepreneurial Center, but also for the students involved,” said Suzie Kowalewski, director of the Entrepreneurial Center. “The group that participated this year came into the program with so much energy and enthusiasm, and they directed it toward solving the problems that mattered most to them. Whether dreaming up ways to improve access to clean drinking water or envisioning a world where teen driving is safer for everyone on the road, this group didn’t shy away from some really big challenges, and I’m incredibly proud of them for meeting those challenges head on. I know these nine seniors will continue to make an impact in their communities after graduation, and I’m excited to see where their entrepreneurial journeys take them.”
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