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A Message from the UMBC Entrepreneurs Group

Octotalk, Greater Plate, Madina Girl and Karotene!

May 6, 2020 2:11 PM

Hello Retrievers!


We hope you are doing well! On behalf of the Alex. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship we want to recognize this year’s Cangialosi Business Innovation Competition (CBIC) winners. This year’s event was especially unique because it didn’t take place in person, but was held virtually on April 30th.


This year we received close to 20 ideas and outside judges selected the top 4 to go to the final competition.  Finishing in fourth place was Computer Science PhD student Akshay Peshave, founder of Karotene, an artificial intelligence-enabled engine that automatically discovers knowledge using natural language descriptions from the user.  An award of $500 was earned by Akshay.


Third place took home $1,000 and that was awarded to Madina Girl created by Noha Darwish, a psychology major.   Madina Girl is a clothing line focused on creating modest clothing. These designs are fashion-forward, affordable, and are of exceptional quality. Noha stated, “I am not looking to merely provide modest clothing; I am looking to translate fashion, artistry, and a sense of taste in all my products” 


Second place, Greater Plate, took home $2,000.  Laura Holland, a computer science major and Nicky Sicilia, a BTA major, partnered together on this idea to create an app to  provide healthier food options, particularly for families struggling with food security in Baltimore. 


First place, Octotalk, took home $3,000. Octotalk was founded by Emma Neubert, a biochemistry major.  Emma and her partner Scott Hart worked tirelessly on this idea to help children who have difficulty connecting through verbal communication.  To address the problem, Emma designed a hand-knitted stuffed octopus with the ability to portray multiple emotions that can convey how a child is feeling. 


Thank you to our two judges, Baltimore Angels Merete Sereck-Hanssen and Sam Diener, for taking time out of their schedule to help choose our winners for the CBIC. Special thanks to CBIC sponsor alum Greg Cangialosi, all the mentors who helped guide our participants, our faculty, staff and student supporters attending the event, and our IT department for their excellent assistance throughout the event!

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