Student Groups Pitch Business Ideas to Make an Impact at Hotchkiss

This article appeared in the spring/summer 2023 Hotchkiss Magazine.

By Darryl Gangloff

Innovative students discovered what it would be like to be featured on the show Shark Tank during the Entrepreneurship Club’s second annual Hotchkiss Diamond Challenge this spring. A large crowd packed the Faculty Room on May 10 to hear Hotchkiss-related business pitches from 10 student groups who hope to make an impact on the School community with their ideas.

Judges Alexander Ginzburg, instructor in mathematics, and Jeff Rosenblum P’24,’27, founder and CEO of Questus, a leading digital advertising agency, listened to the presentations and selected the winners, who received prize money provided by Oblong Books and the Boathouse.

Marcus Lam ’23 and Ella Yu ’24, the heads of the Entrepreneurship Club, said the club launched the Diamond Challenge last year. They increased the scale of the event this year and hosted workshops—such as a mood board session focused on branding—to help the groups develop their business plans.

“We wanted to centralize the challenge to the Hotchkiss environment. It makes for more relatable and thoughtful ideas. Your stakeholders are here,” Marcus said. “We want to create a culture of problem-solving at Hotchkiss.”

“The best thing about this challenge is it’s fun,” Ella said. “The collectiveness of everyone coming together and becoming interested in someone’s idea is really powerful.”

Hotchkiss Diamond Challenge Winners

Hotchkiss Entrepreneurship Club Connect

1st Place: Club Connect

Niki Reppa ’26, Anya Reppa ’26, and Emily Cho-Sayegh ’26

Club Connect offers information about Hotchkiss clubs through a website that features customized lists, clubs organized by subject, notifications, and a personal calendar.

“Joining this competition was one of the best decisions I’ve made all year because it was really fun. There were workshops that helped us come up with our design and steps to make sure we weren’t falling behind. Talking to peers helped us.” — Anya Reppa ’26

Hotchkiss Entrepreneurship Snabed

2nd Place and Best Pitch: Snabed

Brianna Bobbie ’25 and Abi Kizza ’25

Snabed is an app that helps to cut down snack bar lines, reduce rush-hour stress for snack bar employees, minimize food waste, and help with student money management.

“Being a part of this challenge was a very rewarding experience because it was my first opportunity to start my entrepreneurship journey. It helped me realize my potential. We plan on implementing our app because we realize it would have an impact.” — Brianna Bobbie ’25

Hotchkiss Entrepreneurship On The Menu

3rd Place and Best Branding and Marketing

Sia Reddy ’26, Maddie Sada ’26, and Pahal Bhasin ’26

On The Menu is a Dining Hall app that enhances communication and feedback between the student population and the Dining Hall staff, reduces food waste, and helps students with allergies and dietary restrictions feel safe.

“I have always been interested in entrepreneurship, and it was nice to have this real-life experience. It taught me so many lessons.” — Sia Reddy ’26

Hotchkiss Entrepreneurship Rage Room

Audience Vote for Best Overall

Daniel Qu ’25

The Hotchkiss Rage Room allows students to unwind and release their stress and tension by safely breaking objects.

“It was an eye-opening experience. It was fun thinking of the idea and interviewing people about my idea.” — Daniel Qu ’25

Hotchkiss Social

Hotchkiss Facebook
    Hotchkiss Instagram
      Hotchkiss Twitter 
        Hotchkiss Instagram