Ansary Entrepreneurship Competition

Members of the Ansary family

The Ansary Entrepreneurship Competition features student teams in a high-stakes contest to persuade prospective investors to help them turn their Senior Design Projects into effective businesses. Students deliver elevator pitches as they compete for the Ansary Prizes for Entrepreneurship, totaling $17,500.

Ansary Foundation

Prizes for the competition are provided by the Cy and Jan Ansary Foundation, which supports education, entrepreneurship and other philanthropic causes. The foundation was established by Cy and Jan Ansary in 1983 to support educational opportunities for promising economically disadvantaged students and to promote interest and teaching of entrepreneurship and business concepts. The Ansary family are prominent international lawyers, financiers, entrepreneurs, educators, authors and philanthropists. The Cy and Jan Ansary Foundation has supported the Ansary Entrepreneurship Competition and Prizes at the Stevens Innovation Expo since 2016, establishing an endowed fund to support the competition and prizes in 2018.

The Competition

An elevator pitch is a short presentation made by an entrepreneur raising money for a venture. The term describes a pitch that is short enough to be given during an elevator ride during which an entrepreneur has his or her only chance to talk with a potential investor. In the Ansary Entrepreneurship Competition, senior students take their design projects and pitch them to judges as potential businesses.

The competition consists of three rounds:

  • A live quarter-final that takes place within each participating academic department. Course instructors choose top teams, which then advance to the next round.

  • A semi-final in which 45 teams compete and are scored by a panel of judges, with the top six advancing to the finals.

  • A final round the week of the Expo, in which judges evaluate the six selected teams' live pitch based on presentation, business plan, value proposition, viability and the quality of their request.

The top three teams are announced and celebrated on Innovation Expo day.

2024 Finalists

These teams will compete for prizes on April 26.

• Personal Guide Belt (Computer Engineering): Matthew Bairstow, Philip Mascaro,
Aidan Rudd, Jeffrey Tharakan, Jett Tinik
Video Presentation
• OpenTogetherTube Load Balancer (Software Engineering): Victor Giraldo,
Carson McManus, Michael Moreno, Christopher Roddy
Video Presentation
• Knee-sy Does It (Biomedical Engineering): Jalen Bailey, Grace Fukazawa, Maggie Gibson, Brandon Sems
Video Presentation
• PulsePairIt (Biomedical Engineering): Nina Burden, Alicia Cardoso, Stephanie Deren, Arianna Gehan, Julia Zatyko
Video Presentation
Soft Exosuit for Patients with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SESMA) 2.0 (Mechanical Engineering): Kevin Castner, Jr., Sara Deuidicibus, Steven Sack, Jack Santoro
Video Presentation
TinnX (Interdisciplinary – Computer Engineering, Software Engineering, Mechanical Engineering): Nicholas DiMeglio, Rohit Jayas, Shady Kamel
Video Presentation

2024 Judges

2023 Competition Winners

These three teams took home $17,500 in prizes at the 2023 Ansary Entrepreneurship Competition.

First Prize ($10,000): Maritime Security — Reva Grover, Dehan Kong, Laura Mathews, Daniel Wadler, Samantha Weckesser ‘23

The team developed AI that scans incoming container cargo data at port facilities and flags potentially hazardous items.

View the Maritime Security Presentation
Maritime Security

Second Prize ($5,000): No-Till Drill — Dolcinea Carroll, Justine Schleuss, Stephen Schmidt, Jack Staub, Aaron Stultz, Peter White

These students developed a drill arm that creates consistent and precise furrows in farm fields without disturbing surrounding soil.

View the No-Till Drill Presentation
No-Till Drill

Third Prize ($2,500): VoFix — Andre Faubert, Susan George, Matthew Halvorsen, Rachel Pinho, Carter Rosen

The VoFix wearable samples sounds and motions from a speaker’s larynx, determining vocal quality and signaling when the speaker may need to take a break.

View the VoFix presentation

Careers & Student Outcomes

Safer Seas, Ships and Ports: There’s An AI for That

Stevens master’s student and startup founder Samantha Weckesser ’23 develops AI to spot cargo-ship containers packing hazardous materials — before disaster strikes

Read More
Stevens graduate student Samantha Weckesser