On Friday, April 5, more than 100 Swarthmore students and community members gathered to witness the final round of the seventh annual SwatTank Innovation Competition. Hosted by the Center for Innovation and Leadership (CIL), SwatTank provides students with the opportunity to take a rough idea, product, or concept and develop it toward its next incarnation, ideation, or realization. At the finals, three teams of students pitched their innovative business models to a team of alumni and faculty judges with the goal of being ranked the top business and winning the first-place $3,000 cash prize.
Michael Trainor ’21, an interpretation theory and mathematics special major from Palmetto Bay, Fla., gave the first pitch and presented Atomica, an accessible and engaging board game meant for all people, regardless of education or social status.
After Atomica, the PatientConnect team presented its social networking application, which creates a platform for young patients, parents, and health care providers within the same hospital to serve as a support system for one another. Through personal anecdotes of friends who would have benefited from the app, Sydney Covitz ’20, an honors English literature and computer science major from Washington, D.C.; Bashar Abu Ein ’21, an economics and computer science major from Hadera, Isreal; Sally Peng ’21, a computer science major from Little Neck, N.Y.; and Parker Snipes ’21, an honors economics and computer science major from Tiburon, Calif., demonstrated how their product fulfills an emotional need in the health care system. It earned them the audience’s choice for best business pitch.
Ultimately, though, Chris Zhang ’19, an economics and computer science major from San Mateo, Calif.; Grayson Mick ’21, an honors economics and Chinese major from Columbus, Ohio; Dan Altieri ’19, an environmental studies and economics major from Skillman, N.J,; and Nick DiMaio ’19, a Chinese studies and economics special major from Glen Head, N.Y., took home the first-place prize for their business, Collared. With each team member sporting the product, they explained how customized, removable business-casual shirt collars would give men a new fashionable way of expressing themselves.
Nick Martin ’04, founder and CEO of TechChange—a Washington, D.C.-based social enterprise—moderated the event. He fielded questions from the audience and expert judges: Lisa Diaz Nash '80, co-founder of Entrepreneurs for Hillary; Omar Mencin ’97, director of investments information technology at the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania; and Provost Sarah Willie-LeBreton.
Katie Clark, director of the CIL, says all three teams from this year’s finals plan to continue working on their projects after the competition.
“At a glance SwatTank is a simple innovation competition—come up with an idea, pitch it, and see how much traction the idea has,” says Clark. “But the skills being honed in this process are much more. They range from public speaking to design to relationship-building to learning how to market an idea you believe in. The students have done an amazing job, and it has been a pleasure to watch the development of ideas and teamwork over the past few months.”
Watch the three SwatTank final presentations below:
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