Section Image: Roach Family Plaza

Values and Ventures Competition Welcomes Undergraduate Students from Across the Globe to Pitch Conscious Capitalism

The Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation hosted the 14th annual TCU Richards Barrentine Values and Ventures Competition this spring. The highly regarded competition, which has been described as Shark Tank with heart, included teams pitching future businesses that address a social challenge.

March 27, 2024

By Winter Harris

The TCU Richards Barrentine Values and Ventures® Competition opened with a keynote speaker who has previously presented his own business idea before judges in this event. In addition to being a former participant in the competition, Francois Reihani was also the Values and Ventures inaugural Founder’s Award recipient. He founded La La Land Kind Café, a business that hires and mentors foster youth. Reihani credits the competition with having a transformative impact on his business mindset.

Each year, the TCU Neeley Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation hosts Values and Ventures, a global competition that attracts undergraduate innovators and entrepreneurs to campus. The competition is in its 14th year and drew students from 38 universities from Hong Kong to Ontario. Awards totaling in excess of $100,000 were presented to more than a dozen winning teams.

Undergraduate students present their business ideas for ventures that not only demonstrate financial viability but also contribute positively to society. The Values and Ventures Competition is possible thanks to the generous support of the Richards Barrentine Donor Advised Fund of the Texas Women’s Foundation.

This year’s student competitors received firsthand knowledge from Reihani during his keynote speech. His connection to Values and Ventures allowed him to share advice based on his entrepreneurial journey, emphasizing the significance of social impact in the business landscape. His business model, which prioritizes social responsibility, has allowed La La Land Kind Café to distinguish itself from other small businesses and compete successfully against corporate giants in the same business space.

The semifinalists, who competed on campus, presented a wide range of innovative concepts, including medical devices, solutions for food insecurity, Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications for teaching autistic children, bio-diesel innovations, and many more. After receiving feedback Saturday, the teams gathered in the Stockyards to celebrate the announcement of the finalists.

On Sunday, the award winners were announced. The atmosphere during the presentation of awards was filled with expressions of gratitude and a sense of accomplishment that resonated throughout the room.

Top Prizes:

Grand Prize - University of Texas with PlatoAI - $40,000 First Place team from University of Texas
Second Place - John Hopkins University with CounselAI - $25,000 Second place team from Johns Hopkins University
Third Place - University of Georgia with Pool Protection Technologies - $15,000 Third place team of University of Montana

Honorable Mention - $2,500 each
Adona – University of Pennsylvania
Astra Wellbeing – Boston University
MabLab – Barnard College
Nerview Surgical – McMaster University

Special Awards:
Sly Award – UMEMBR – US Air Force Academy - $2,500
Mittelsteadt/Waste Connections Award – Smart Dorm Company – University of Montana - $10,000

Investor Challenge
$1,500 each
Samir Walji PlatoAI UT Austin
Tristan Curd Dyslexico University of Nebraska – Lincoln
$500 each
Christy Lee PatientCompanion University of Waterloo
Ethan Alvizo PatientCompanion University of Waterloo
Rehan Rupawalla PlatoAI UT Austin
Zia Ostawal Agoraponic Farms Rutgers University

Networking Challenge
Pet Healthcare Innovations – Florida Atlantic University - $1,000
ConnExons – Fayettville State University - $500
TotallyTutoring - Kennesaw State University - $250