CEO funds three Startup Ventures, Announces Collegiate Entrepreneur of the Year and Chapter Awards

As part of its 37th annual CEO Global Conference & Pitch Competition, last week the College Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO) announced its annual collegiate entrepreneurs of the year, winners of the entrepreneurship simulation challenge and chapter awards. It also provided $15,000 to fund three student startup ventures. The recognitions follow:

Startup Ventures Funding

Twenty college students representing 19 campuses presented their businesses to a panel of judges, each competing for new venture funding.

  • Brenden Wang, a student of Michigan State University, won first place and $7,000. He is the founder of CAPNOS Zero: The better, clean alternative to vaping. CAPNOS is on a mission to prevent lung diseases and save lives.
  • The second-place award of $5,000 was presented to Denali Dahl a student of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and founder of Kalia Health: a home-based early detection test to help diagnose preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a dangerous pregnancy complication and the second leading cause of maternal mortality. 
  • The third place award of $3,000 was presented to Harrison Hertzberg, a Drexel University student and founder of AeroPest: an ariel drone spraying system which both eliminates and prevents pests in hard-to-access, elevated areas. 

The three student winners each demonstrated exceptional performance in a month-long competition between 110 student founders. This competition, now in its 37th year, was designed to take each student through the new venture creation process. Due to physical distancing guidelines, the competition was entirely online. Along each phase of the competition, judges evaluated ventures, paying close attention to the 1-year launch plan. The elements of this competition help with CEO’s due diligence as we decide which venture is most likely to reach success with the funding provided. CEO utilized an ed-tech software, Peaqs, to help students create their business profiles, and each student was required to utilize a standardized pitch deck built on the platform. You can view a full listing of the top 20 ventures selected and their PitchPages here.

“With the help of Peaqs and PitchPages, CEO was able to create a robust learning experience that focused on the actions of creating a venture,” said James N. Zebrowski Jr., executive director of CEO. “We required students to preform launch-necessary functions such as customer discovery or business viability exercises. This phased based competition truly helped us identify the students that had an irrepressible spirit for the success of their venture.”

College Entrepreneur of the Year

CEO powered a People’s Choice Awards to name the Collegiate Entrepreneur of the Year. Sixty-eight students submitted their pitch video to a YouTube playlist with more than 21,600 total views. Javyn Stubbs, founder of Kodi Trash Can and a student at Texas State University, was named the 2020 Collegiate Entrepreneur of the Year and received a $600 grant for his venture. Stubbs’ pitch had 3,453 views and 657 likes. You can view his video here

Entrepreneurship Simulation Challenge

CEO hosted an online simulation that challenged student teams to create a venture in a virtual environment. In the marketplace simulation, teams combatted real world obstacles as they developed their customer channels, distribution streams, product pricing and team structure. The simulation provided cash awards to three teams with the highest performance. 

  • The Supreme Market Masters, and winners of $500, was True Tread – a Grove City College team. 
  • The Grand Market Masters, and winners of $300 was Don’s Bikes – a University of Northern Iowa team. 
  • The Market Masters, and winners of $200 was Bikes on Bikes on Bikes – a University of Tennessee-Knoxville team.

Chapter Awards

The Chapter Awards program is hosted each year and highlights individual leaders and campuses that pontificate an irrepressible entrepreneurial spirit while cultivating a network of student entrepreneurs.  The winning campuses are listed below: 

Outstanding Marketing & Social Media Initiatives: 

1st Place and $300: University of South Alabama

2nd Place and $200: Shaheed Sukhdev College Of Business Studies

Outstanding Chapter Leader: 

1st Place and $300: Justin KrugUniversity of Nebraska at Omaha

2nd Place and $200: Andrea PrgomeljaUniversity of South Alabama

Best Cross Campus Entrepreneurial Diffusion Innovation & Networking Award: 

1st Place and $300: West Chester University of Pennsylvania

2nd Place and $200: The University of Texas at El Paso

Outstanding CEO Chapter Advisor: 

$300 is awarded to Dr. Corey Fox at Texas State University

Global Chapter of the Year: $500 Bryant University

As part of the CEO Global Conference & Pitch Competition attendees heard from Mike Evans, the Founder of and; Zev Siegl, Co-Founder of Starbucks Coffee Company; Brad Chisum, CEO of Launch Factory and Steve Kaplan chair of the Kaplan Family Foundation. CEO also offered varying engagement opportunities such as a People’s Choice Awards program, a Marketplace Simulation Challenge, an Entrepreneurial E-Sports Demonstration, a Chapter/Individual Awards Program and a total of 65 skill building workshops. 

About CEO 

Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization, a 501(c)(3) not for profit charitable corporation founded in 1983, supports more than 16,500 emerging collegiate entrepreneurs annually. CEO believes that any student, regardless of academic discipline can launch a business. Through our global network of more than 250 college and university chapters, we support and inspire the growth and development of any student that seeks to be entrepreneurial.

About Peaqs

Peaqs is a Danish Ed-Tech startup made for higher learning that allows educators and faculty to create hybrid or synchronous learning experiences for their students. Peaqs is highly customizable and built to secure high levels of student engagement via elements of gamification, peer feedback and learning progress transparency.

About is The Most Effective Fundraising Tool for Startup Founders by automating the process of turning their pitch into a well-designed and easily shareable landing page. was developed to help founders SAVE time so that they can focus their efforts on growing their business.

About Marketplace Simulations 

Marketplace® Simulations is a family of over 30 marketing and business simulations designed for university business courses and executive business programs. It is developed by Innovative Learning Solutions Inc, the leading publisher of online learning solutions for business students and corporate professionals worldwide.