The University of
Virginia Darden School of Business announced the winners
of its first sustainability innovation pitch night competition. The
event, held late January in the W.
L. Lyons Brown III Innovation Laboratory (i.Lab) on Darden's
Grounds, drew a standing-room-only crowd. Seven participants
pitched their best ideas for incorporating sustainability into
their ventures or community organizations. Like the hit ABC network
show Shark Tank that features contestants who pitch
their business ideas to potential investors, the i.Lab contestants
pitched their big ideas on creating value for people while meeting
environmental challenges to the crowd.
The "People's Choice" winner for the evening was Anna Perry, a
Charlottesville High School senior who shared her progress and
vision for composting in area K-12 schools. She also received the
"Most Feasible Idea" award.
The night's "Overall Winner," Joni Lane of Boston Architectural
College, triumphed with her idea to insulate buildings with
The night's participants also included:
- Matthew Slaats for Bridge
Progressive Art Initiative
- Joe Rinkevich for
- Kelly Love for Branch
Basics, an i.Lab Incubator company
- Darden Second Year student
Edem Seshie for the Darden Social Impact Venture Fund
- William S. Nuckols for M-cam
Presenters had five minutes or less, using five PowerPoint
slides or fewer, to convince the audience that they had the winning
vision for a socially and/or environmentally responsible operation.
The "Overall Winner" will receive complimentary mentoring from
Philippe Sommer, director of Darden's Center for
Entrepreneurial Leadership and the i.Lab.
Kathryne Carr, director of the i.Lab Incubator and venture
mentor, welcomed the attendees, and local business owner and Darden
alumnus Toan Nguyen (MBA `93) gave out the awards.
"We were delighted to host the first Sustainability Innovation
Pitch Night at the i.Lab, which is a resource for the entire U.Va.,
Charlottesville and central Virginia communities," said Carr.
"Having a full house for Pitch Night was a great way to connect
with new visitors and participants."
Along with the i.Lab, Darden's Batten
Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation sponsored
the event in conjunction with the Better Business
Challenge (BBC). BBC is an initiative led by Better World
Betty and the Local Energy Alliance Program, with key partners
including Darden, the City of Charlottesville, Albemarle County and
the Chamber of Commerce.
"This is an effort to effect change in the community one step at
a time," said Erika Herz, associate director of sustainability
programs at Darden. "Events like this one will help businesses and
individuals take steps toward sustainability that they can
implement into their personal and professional lives."
About the Darden School of Business
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business is
one of the world's leading business schools, offering MBA, Ph.D.
and Executive Education programs. The unique Darden experience
combines the case study method, top-ranked faculty whose research
advances global managerial practice and business education, and a
tight-knit learning environment to develop responsible and complete
leaders who are ready to make an impact.
About the i.Lab
The i.Lab is a pan-university hub for entrepreneurship and
innovation education at the University of Virginia. The i.Lab's
mission is to foster deep cross-collaboration with no boundaries,
across disciplines, schools or ways of thinking. The i.Lab
provides coaching, courses, and incubation to students, faculty,
and community members interested in launching ventures. The
i.Lab, Open Grounds and related initiatives enable U.Va. to create
a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem within a university and its
surrounding community. The i.Lab is a collaborative effort of 11
schools of the University, the Provost's Office, and UVA
About the Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and
The Batten Institute at the Darden School of Business improves
the world through entrepreneurship and innovation. The institute's
academic research center advances knowledge that addresses
real-world challenges and shapes Darden's curriculum. Its Center
for Entrepreneurial Leadership offers one of the world's top
entrepreneurship programs. The Batten Institute was established
with gifts from U.Va. alumnus Frank Batten Sr., a media pioneer,
visionary and founder of The Weather Channel.
For questions or information, contact Abena
Foreman-Trice or a member of the Communication team.
Sharing via social media? Please tag us: @DardenMBA on
Twitter, UVA Darden School of
Business on Facebook.