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Maji Wins BC SEED Prize For Startups

Heights Staff

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01

Natalie Blardony / For The Heights

Natalie Blardony / For The Heights

On April 18, Boston College SEED (Social Entrepreneurs Envisioning Development) hosted their final event in their first annual business competition series, called Social Impact Venture Competition. BC SEED is a subdivision of BCVC (Boston College Venture Competition), which promotes entrepreneurship across the BC community. The competition featured a number of teams who pitched their business plans, all of which involved solving a social issue. The winner was Maji Bottles, who won third place in the BCVC pitch competition last week. The company received $1,000 dollars to put toward their business.

BC SEED is a student-run organization founded by a group of CSOM students who decided to commit to not just entrepreneurship, but also social awareness in business and corporate responsibility. After attending a conference in 2011 at New York University, these students felt a disconnect between the Jesuit ideals and the strength of BC’s prestigious management program.

“Schools with similar missions to BC’s of ‘men and women for others,’ and a strong management school were doing things like social entrepreneurship and social innovation, corporate responsibility, business ethics, the whole gambit,” said Vivian Diep, co-founder of BC SEED and CSOM ’12. “We thought ‘we need to get this started at BC’.” Diep also mentioned the organization’s commitment to expanding the entrepreneurship opportunities BC already has in place, such as BCVC, as BC has involved with this up-and-coming program from the start. The organization aims to work alongside BCVC to support entrepreneurs who have a desire to pursue careers in social impact.

In front of a panel of three judges, three teams proposed their socially aware business plans to potentially win a prize of $1,000 to put toward their business endeavors.

Maji Bottles, proposed by Max Ade, CSOM ’12; Paul Veiga, CSOM ’12; Alex Trautwig, A&S  ’12; and Austin Nissly, CSOM ’14, is a company that, through water bottle and hat sales, provides clean water to Third World countries. With a business model similar to TOMS shoes, for every four items the company sells­—which is close to $20—one person in a Third World country will receive clean drinking water. By targeting college campuses across the country through social media and promotions, their long-term goal is to provide multiple wells internationally through an organization called charity: water. Maji Bottles previously was granted money for placing in the semi-finals of BC’s Venture Competition.

Derek Switaj, CSOM ’15, and Scott Geron, CSOM ’14, founded a website called The Good Network, a social media intended to bring businesses and any charity-giving organization together to provide a more efficient and effective donation process.

Their model consists of listings of schools, businesses, churches, and more posting their charity work with the goal of connecting and collaborating with others with similar missions. They also aspire to involve businesses, such as UHaul and Staples, to provide coupons and supplies for these organizations with charity listings.

NBD Nanotechnologies, founded by Miguel Galvez, A&S ’12; Deckard Sorensen, A&S ’12; and Andy McTeague, A&S ’12, developed a way to collect water from condensation, with the goal of providing affordable drinking water to Third World nations.

All students involved in biology and entrepreneurship, the three developed an American and international patent-pending system of utilizing a material based of off the Namib Desert Beetle. Combining super-hydrophobic material and super-hydrophilic material developed in labs across the country, NBD hopes to market this product to provide water alternatives for poorer countries, where the cost and demand of water is high. NBD Nanotechnologies received the first prize in BC’s Venture Competition last week, winning a cash prize of $10,000.

The judges, Stas Gayshan, BC ’04, Mary-Alice Brady, BC ’96, and professor Vesela Veleva deliberated and granted Maji Bottles with the first prize of $1,000.

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