This Year’s ICE Scholarship Recipients

By Taylor Borden, Marketing and Communications Intern, Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship

The Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship provides many leadership opportunities and scholarships for outstanding students who contribute to the entrepreneurial culture at Wake Forest. We are proud to announce this year’s scholarship recipients:

dagaKeshav Daga, the Orton Fund Scholarship Recipient, 2015/16-2016/17

The Orton Fund Scholarship is awarded each year to a junior who has distinguished himself/herself as a leader in promotion entrepreneurship and involvement. The scholarship spans two years, and this past year’s recipient was Keshav Daga. Keshav is a senior Finance major and Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise minor from Cranbury, New Jersey. He is currently serving on the Entrepreneurship Society executive board and runs a Venture Capitalist Boot Camp every other Wednesday for interested students. During his time at Wake, he founded Deacon Clean, a student-run cleaning service for students who don’t receive regular custodial services.

haydenHayden Lineberger, the Orton Fund Scholarship Recipient, 2016/17-2017/18 and Farr Scholar

The Orton Fund Scholarship is awarded each year to a junior who has distinguished himself/herself as a leader in promotion of entrepreneurship and involvement. This year’s recipient is Hayden Lineberger. Hayden is a junior majoring in Business and Enterprise Management and minoring in Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise. Aside from consistently being named to the Dean’s List, Hayden has held four marketing internships throughout his time at WFU. He performed so well as the marketing intern for the Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina that he was asked to stay on the Board of Directors. In addition, Hayden founded and runs his own social media marketing company, which has over 50 clients and 23,000 followers. He was also just named the Executive Director of TEDxWakeForestU2017.

cftqjlwGeorge Papakonstantinou, the Richard and Carolyn Riley Scholarship Recipient, 2016/17

The Richard and Carolyn Riley Scholarship is awarded each year to a student who shows outstanding entrepreneurial potential. This year’s recipient is George Papakonstantinou. George is sophomore from Asheville, North Carolina. His entrepreneurial endeavors span far and wide: he has written books, published and marketed iPhone applications, and co-founded a no-profit organization that raises awareness for his local children’s hospital. On campus, he served as an executive team member for the Do Something challenge, bringing Shark Tank alum to campus, fundraising, and marketing for the event. He was also named the Vice President of the Entrepreneurial Society and the President of Wake Forest’s venture Create. Additionally, George is helping to launch the new Deac Tank competition which will be held in February 2017.

2ULaundry: Wake Grad Finds Success Doing Your Laundry

By Taylor Borden, Marketing and Communications Intern, Center for Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship

Big blue laundry bags litter the halls of freshmen dorms bright and early on Monday and Wednesday mornings here at Wake Forest University. It’s a familiar scene that can only mean one thing: Wake Wash was here.

Wake Wash is a subscription based, door-to-door laundry and dry cleaning delivery service run by students, for students.

Alex Smereczniak (’14) worked as a bag runner for Wake Wash his freshman year and “was amazed that 200 plus students used the service even though we have washers and dryers in every dorm included in the room and board.” He was so amazed, in fact, that he went on to buy the business with two friends his sophomore year. Smereczniak then grew Wake Wash “a couple hundred percent” and sold it at the end of his senior year.

“There’s a value proposition here,” Smereczniak stated, explaining the business’s success, “your time is worth more than doing your laundry yourself.”

Even after moving on to Charlotte, North Carolina to work as a financial consultant, Smereczniak held onto that value proposition and thought about translating it to markets beyond the college campus.

During his time as a consultant, Smereczniak kept an eye on a couple of laundry delivery companies out west that worked, and struggled, in metropolitan areas with an on-demand model. An on-demand model, like Uber, meant calling a driver via a smartphone app to pick up your laundry at any given time. Smereczniak understood that this could be improved upon: he thought metropolitan areas were a great market fit, but knew that a subscription based model would produce stronger results.

And so, Smereczniak and friend Dan D’Aquisto quit their jobs, moved in together, 2u2
and officially launched 2ULaundry from their Charlotte apartment ten months ago.


Taking the principles of Wake Wash and putting them on a completely different stage, 2ULaundry promises to maximize your time by regularly picking up, taking care of, and dropping off whatever laundry or dry cleaning you may have right at your Charlotte doorstep at prescheduled times.

Since their humble beginnings in December, their customer base has grown 50-60% every month and they have taken on ten employees and eight contractors. 2ULaundry currently services 1,200 homes in Charlotte, keeping the likes of young professional men and busy moms happy. This is evidenced by their recent successful round of seed financing led by Full Tilt Capital: this September, 2ULaundry raised $400,000 of capital from Full Tilt capital and a handful of angel investors in Charlotte, New York City, and Denver.

This financing is a great feat for the 2ULaundry team, as it almost guarantees the next 14 months. Beyond that, this funding allows the team the ability to expand the staff, invest in marketing, and fine tune operations in Charlotte before hopefully expanding to another metropolitan market in the southeast.

2u4Smereczniak shares his success with the Wake Forest community: “Wake taught me a ton. Wake Wash was the greatest experience I’d ever had. The Center for Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship was a huge resource for me. It just gave me a platform for entrepreneurship.”

To learn more about 2ULaundry, visit their website. To keep up with Smereczniak, his continued success, and 2ULaundry’s growth, follow them on social media.

Howard Love Visits WFU to Share His Research on The Start-up J Curve

By Taylor Borden, Marketing and Communications Intern, Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship

hlove-headshot-1On October 6, entrepreneur and angel investor Howard Love (P ‘18) spoke to all of the Deacon Springboard teams along with the ICE Advisory Council about his recently published book, The Start-up J Curve.

Love has founded or co-founded over 15 startups and has invested in another 50 in the past 30 years and covers what he recognizes as the pattern to entrepreneurial success in The Start-up J Curve.

According to Love, there are six steps or phases that can serve as a guidepost to entrepreneurial success. The first phase is the create phase. This is where the idea is initially developed. The creation of the idea, product, team and so on ultimately results in the venture’s release to market.

bookcover-1“Do you know what happens when you release your first product?” Love asked the audience. “Nothing. No one cares. It hits the market with a thud.” Which leads right into the crucial third phase: the morph.

The morph is the phase where the track of the startup will officially be decided: success or failure. “I call this the long cold winter, except it’s usually more than one winter” Love admitted.

However, if you make it through the winter and you pivot your idea so that it is “something people absolutely love,” you pass to the next phase: model.

Your idea is developed and established and this phase is focused on developing a plan and model that are functional and profitable. Once the model is solidified, it is time for growth, or rather time to scale.

s1230052You assemble the right idea, people, processes, investments, and you’re starting to see the startup succeed. Once the startup reaches the point where it feels the success is practically palpable, it has reached the final phase: harvest, where it’s not really a startup anymore at all.

One of the students in the audience immediately asked: “Well how did you make it through the long cold winter and see
harvest at such a young age without living under a bridge?”

Love smiled back. “I lived under my desk.”

To read more about Love’s ideas and the intricacies of the J curve, purchase a copy of the book here.

Congratulations to the 2016-17 Deacon Springboard!

Congratulations to these students who were accepted into the first annual Deacon Springboard! Click here to read more about the Deacon Springboard process.

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Brooke Einbender – Art Rental for Students by Students is an art rental service for college students who want to dart-rental-for-students-by-students-brooke-einbenderecorate their room, but do not want to pay a lot of money for artwork. We would partner with student artists to allow Wake Forest students to rent framed prints of their original artwork. On our website, each artist creates a profile consisting of their artist statement and high resolution images of their artwork. Students who want to decorate their room choose the art they want from our online catalog. We deliver the high resolution framed print to their doorstep that’s ready to hang. Framed prints allow students to acquire good art at a college-budget price. When the student is ready to change out their art print, they can exchange it for a new piece from our catalog.


Ryan Godwin – Automatic Molecular Dynamics (AutoMD) is dedicated to bringing its customers the most accurate, intuitive software on the market for producing and analyzing molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. This cutting-edge drautomd-ryan-godwinug discovery tool will leverage the power of Graphical Processing Units (GPUs) and machine learning techniques to elucidate of essential mechanisms of action, providing critical details regarding potential drugs and their targets. AutoMD includes a centralized database to streamline comparative investigation and optimize data recall, a well-tested software architecture to ensure reliable operation, and an extensible and flexible development scheme to streamline future development. AutoMD is here to help you science!



Kathryn Webster and Kyla Tucker – Beyond Borders encourages adults to see life through a different lens. Combining cultural, educational, service, and leadership experiences, curious people grow and learn together in nations abroad. This non-profit aims to partner the disabled community with non-disabled adults to travel the world and reflect in a way that is unique to each person. We focus on breaking down the stigma of disability, and empowering our
participants to build relationships with individuals both in the states and with our collaborative partners overseas.


ez-cork-arthur-willson-and-hannah-showsArthur Willson and Hannah Shows – SimpullCork is an innovative wine opening solution that eliminates the need for additional tools and aftermarket wine stoppers. Using an integrated loop system, SimpullCork allows easy removal of wine corks without damaging the cork.


Sophie Hollis – Meta Designs clothing is for the practical, modern woman. The contrast in functionality between men’s and women’s clothing inspires us to promote gender equality by creating designs with useful pockets for women. We also commit to giving part of our profits to support women’s education. We hope to grant women further autonomy with clothing that is both inventive and refined by empowering them to hold their own (stuff).



Nick Hanna – Nightlife Analytics looks to bridge the gap between strategic marketing efforts and attribution for nightlife venues by combining innovative cell phone tracking technology with market leading data analysis. Our product provides consumer insights and predictive services for our clients helping them optimize promotions to maximize profits. Nightlife Analytics provides the hardware and installation for tracking in addition to the back end platform for data analysis to give every client a strategic advantage over their competitors.


Bailey Greenberg – The Portal Pocket Tee is a t-shportal-pocket-tee-bailey-greenbergirt with a decoy pocket that allows cancer patients to provide easy access to their chest ports while receiving chemotherapy infusions. The portal pocket tee is a unique, affordable and practical alternative to hospital gowns, nudity or overly-expensive clothing.



Caroline Magee – RoomEase is an app designed like popular dating apps with a user profile and swiping feature that allows young professionals and recent grads to find the best roommate possible. The profile allows users to specify what matters to them, whether that’s sticking to a budget, making sure dishes are always washed, or even that they have a pet. Users are matched based on location preference and then swipe to learn and connect with possible roommates. RoomEase is easy to use, safe, and fun!


Youssef Albanawi, Moises Castano, Christian Kissinger, and Daniel Van de Star – Tracer is a micro-GPS tracking device that attaches to valuables of all kinds such as credit cards and IDtracer-youssef-albanawi-moises-castano-daniel-van-de-star-christian-kissingers. Tracer employs one of the smallest tracking devices developed by Rakon. Once attached to a credit card, users can track it from an integrated smartphone application on a minute by minute basis. Tracer can easily be attached/detached to the smallest of valuables without hindering their functions. For the regular traveler, college student and professional who frequently misplace/lose their credit cards (valuables), Tracer makes sure that users always locate their valuables in all sorts of situations.



Lauren Miller and Olivia Wolff – UpDog Kombucha is a kombucha microbrewery started in a Wake Forest dorm room and now an operating business in Winston-Salem, NC. We produce kombucha, a fermented tea that is packed with beneficial probiotics, enzymes and acids that support digestive health. We are currently producing over 125 gallons of kombucha per week and selling in bottles and kegs at fourteen different locations, including coffee shops, restaurants, bars, yoga studios and farmers markets. We are currently working on expanding our distribution and developing more efficient brewing practices.

Entrepreneurial Summer Fellows Bring Their Experiences Back to Campus

By Taylor Borden, Communications Intern, Center for Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship

TUPDATED summer fellows signhis past summer, many Wake Forest students took the time to pursue hands-on experiences in a variety of entrepreneurial endeavors through different internship opportunities. With all undergraduates back on campus after a long and busy summer break, there is still constant buzzing about all of the internships and experiences students have been involved in over the past three months. The sixteen students that were a part of this year’s Entrepreneurial Summer Fellows program are no exception.

The Entrepreneurial Summer Fellows program, sponsored by the Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship, offers students the opportunity to spend their summer developing their own entrepreneurial venture or gaining first hand experience with a startup organization. The sixteen selected students each had unique summer experiences, but across the board, they all agree: they had the summer of a lifetime and were able to truly exercise what they’ve been learning in the classroom, as evidenced by their final presentations given at Wake Forest on August 29th. Here is an inside look on all the Fellows’ summers:

timhanTim Han (‘19) spent his summer in Winston-Salem researching with and assisting Wake Forest professors with the Adapa Project. The Adapa Project is currently working on an online general chemistry textbook that aims to reinforce various difficult concepts from prerequisite science courses in a way that is beneficial to both the student and the professor. As the only student on the project, Han said he was frequently asked “what worked for the student versus the professor” and enjoyed having a “truly collaborative” intern experience.

Tommy Lisiak (‘17) also spent his summer in Winston-Salem. Lisiak worked at Fulton & Roark, an up-and-coming men’s grooming company, which was foundedtommy-lisiak by two Wake Forest MBA students, Allen Shafer (‘13) and Kevin Keller (‘13). While Fulton & Roark’s bestselling and most established product is “cologne wax,” Lisiak’s main summer project was to create and implement a new product, a scented candle, from start to finish. From research, to prototyping, testing, creating packaging, and working on the website, Lisiak had a hand in it all.

c2bd47838b96f02fc249eb816b8891e0Katherine Thomas (‘17) took the time this summer to get just as involved in all aspects of a startup. Thomas enjoyed a hands-on internship experience with (A)ZIONE PR in New York City, which has garnered international publicity for its cutting edge media marketing and branding campaigns. She spent the summer cataloging media contacts, creating online content, and managing events. Thomas ultimately “learned how to pitch to clients, learned the importance of brand differentiation, as well as the importance of authenticity in campaign creation.”Arthur-Hannah-Brainstorm-for-website-1024x678

Arthur Willson (‘19) and Hannah Shows (‘19) spent the summer learning about trademarks and incorporating their own entrepreneurial venture, SimpullCork, a wine opening solution that eliminates the need for a corkscrew. Willson and Shows have been busy researching and conducting an industry analysis, building a website, and working towards getting SimpullCork trademarked.

julia-reedJulia Reed (‘19) spent her summer catching up with WFU alum Nikki Azzara (‘14) and her popular eggless, gluten-free cookie dough at Slender Seven. Reed mainly assisted with in-store demos, developing social media campaigns, as well as the venture’s upcoming rebrand. Her personal addition to the rebrand is the cookie dough’s new packaging.

Jenna Zimmerman (‘18) worked alongside Azzara and Reed at Slender Seven. She served initially as a marketing and sales intern but then transitioned jenna-zimmermaninto brand management as Slender Seven is currently undergoing a large rebrand. While she also assisted with in-store demos and general rebranding, Zimmerman’s brand management responsibilities included editing pitch decks for investors, creating financials for predicted revenue with the new branding, and contacting buyers/retailers for post-launch sales.
jennifer-dayeJennifer Daye (‘18) spent the summer learning the ins and outs of a not-for-profit in Winston-Salem. Daye worked on conducting and compiling market research for Minds Renewed, a Christian venture seeking to provide a forum where people from a range of professional and theological perspectives can share their thoughts on the meaning of Christlike response to mental health. Daye spent her her summer focusing on crafting and disseminating surveys.

Assel Aljaied (‘18) is currently at the Wake Forest School of Law working towards his SJD. This summer, he spent his time at The Law Office of Adrianne D.assel-aijead Roberts, a startup law firm that focuses on family and criminal law. He worked at implementing a community relations program and helping the firm establish itself from the ground up. Aljaied plans to open his own international law firm and cites this experience as what gave him the confidence to pursue that ambition.

cameron-steitzCameron Steitz (‘18) combined his interest in community organizing along with his interest in food justice and spent the summer interning with No Bad Apple, a socially-minded for-profit that provides fresh, healthy, humane, safe, and sustainable food from responsible, local producers to the Wake Forest community. No Bad Apple was founded by another WFU student, Jake Teitelbaum (‘17). Steitz not only worked on planning and preparing meal kits but mainly conducted research, running a financial analysis as well as customer behavioral analysis.

Moriah Gendy (‘17) also interned full time this summer with No Bad Apple, where she frequently planned the menu, moriah-gendcoordinated communication with local farms, prepared packages for customers, and also spearheaded customer relations. She and Steitz had completely different responsibilities and learned the value of teamwork especially in a small venture environment.

nick-laddNick Ladd (‘17) spent his summer interning in California with Purple Squirrel, an online network that aims to eliminate the need to network by connecting job seekers immediately with insiders at top companies. Ladd not only aided in moving the venture’s headquarters from San Francisco to Los Angeles, he coded migration scripts, developed new product features, and conducted product analysis on user behavior.

Quentin Brillantes (‘17) was in Boulder, Colorado this summer, working with TapInfluence, an influencer marketing venture tvnclxfthat connects brands with influencers or promoters. He worked towards building campaign content, as well as analyzing the best practices for campaign optimization. He says he appreciated his experience because it was “a symbiotic relationship, my internship was a two way street, I had to contribute and not just learn.” 

kathryn-covinoKathryn Covino (‘18) wore many hats as an intern. Covino interned at Flywheel, a coworking space in the heart of the innovation quarter of downtown Winston-Salem that promotes the building of other startups. Covino spent her summer hard at work improving Flywheel’s social media presence, working on marketing tactics, planning and hosting events held at Flywheel, and even serving temporarily in a managerial position.

Recent graduate Olivia Wolff (‘16), along with senior Lauren Miller (‘17), spent the summer expanding their Winston-Salem based kombucha specialty teas, updog-kombucha-girlsUpDog Kombucha. They conducted research and began producing kombucha in kegs in order to sell kombucha on tap to local Winston-Salem eateries. UpDog Kombucha is now officially being sold at Twin City Hive, Mission Pizza, and Local 27101 and will soon also be sold at Krankies, Hoots, Village Juice Company, and the Honey Pot. The girls are now looking to grow further and expand to other North Carolina college towns.

lisa-shafferLisa Shaffer (‘17) spent the summer as marketing and operations intern for Loopey Laces, a venture started by two Wake Forest seniors, Tommy Worcester (‘17) and Tim Collis (‘17). Loopey Laces is an e-commerce based company that sells sorority apparel, most notably, sorority shoelaces. One of Shaffer’s many tasks was to produce blog posts and other web content in order to drive traffic to the new website. Her greatest triumph was having her content reach over 45,000 viewers.

These students have been hard at work applying what they’ve been learning here in Wake Forest classrooms as well as gaining valuable experiences in a fun and engaging manner through the Entrepreneurial Summer Fellows program. All of the 2016 fellows’ personal experiences have been chronicled on their blog here. Entrepreneurial Summer Fellows are selected in the spring of each year, and if you are interested in applying for Summer 2017, learn more about the process here.


Paúl Pauca appointed the Lelia and David Farr Faculty Chair of Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship

Dr. Paúl Pauca, professor of computer science, is taking the reigns as faculty director of the ICE program.  Professor Pauca's specialized interests are in computational imaging science, data analysis, mobile computing, and entrepreneurship with applications in space surveillance (detecting and identifying man-made objects orbiting the Earth), remote sensing through LiDAR and hyperspectral imaging, biometric identification, and human-computer interaction for disabilities.  
Pauca was named one of the top 20 NBC Latino Innovators of the year in 2012. His interest in mobile computing and entrepreneurship arose from the tremendous need he saw in local schools for children with disabilities for modern and affordable assistive technology, particularly associated with speech and communication.  
Through his research and teaching work, Professor Pauca and his students have been turning mobile devices and wearable sensors into assistive tools for people with disabilities. His initial work, an iPhone/iPad app called Verbal Victor, has been featured in media outlets nationally and internationally. He is passionate about helping students discover computer science through hands-on experimentation, teamwork, and an applications-first approach.
Along with colleagues Drs. Burg and Santago, Professor Pauca recently developed the STEM incubator initiative allowing underclassmen and non-computer science students to explore computer science through real-world applications and hands-on problem solving. Some of the projects that have been developed through the STEM incubator, in collaboration with Professor Bill Conner, include assistive echo-location based wearable devices for the blind, sound visualizers through virtual reality for the deaf, and feeding assistant devices for people with complete paralysis such as Guillian-Barré.
Pauca is also a '94 Wake Forest University alum.
Michele Gillespie, Dean of Wake Forest College, says "Professor Pauca is a longtime faculty member of the ICE Faculty Council.  Pauca is an innovative teacher who helped lead the 1-credit STEM Incubator initiative as a "low-stakes" entry point for students not traditionally interested in computer science, he is also an active researcher and an entrepreneur interested in developing highly affordable modern technology that can apply computer science to the benefit of society." 

Paúl Pauca replaces Professor Bill Conner who served the ICE program for more than a decade. Under his guidance, faculty passed the entrepreneurship and social enterprise minor in 2005. Since then, 64 courses with entrepreneurship as a central theme have been added to the curriculum. In spring 2016, Professor Connor decided to step down from his role as Farr Chair and ICE Faculty Director to return full-time to teaching and scholarship in the Biology Department.

Wake Forest Students Compete in Biomimicry Global Design Challenge

By Allison Pennington, Communications Intern, Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship

Biomimicry 1

On Wednesday, May 11, five Wake Forest University students will participate in the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge, an annual team competition that addresses critical sustainability issues with nature-inspired solutions. Sumi Mahajan (’16), Pascal Dangtran (’16), Andrew Barth (’16), Chirag Patel (’16) and Meagan Rosenberg (’17) were all chosen to participate on this year’s team. The team is advised by Dr. Bill Conner, the Lelia and David Farr Professor of Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship and a Professor of Biology here at Wake Forest.


Biomimicry teamThe Biomimicry Global Design Challenge, a yearly competition, is open to students and professionals across the world. Each year, the competition surrounds a theme or “problem area” for which participating teams are tasked with designing solutions. This year, teams were asked to identify and solve a specific problem within the food system, intentionally emulating a mechanism, process, pattern, or system found in nature which all enhancing the sustainability of the food system. Selected teams will receive funding to bring their solution to the market through an Accelerator program. The winning team will be awarded a $100,000 prize made possible by the Ray C. Anderson Foundation.

The Wake Forest team’s design will use Styrofoam ingesting mealworms to reduce waste, use their feces for fertilizer, and harvest the mealworms, themselves, as a food source, all in a single apparatus. “Our prototype is intended to reduce food insecurity while also getting rid of excess waste,” explained Sumi Mahajan, one of the lead team members on the project. “We additionally will use concepts that combine leaf cutter ants and vertical farming as an element of biomimicry within the project.”

Biomimicry 2Dr. Conner, who teaches many classes that focus on the interface of biology and entrepreneurship, has been the mentor for this challenge for several years, in large part due to the entrepreneurial skills that students glean from creating their own innovative prototype. “We have learned how to be creative and innovative while using biological principles and knowledge from unrelated disciplines, explained Mahajan. “We’ve also been able to practice applying novel entrepreneurial skills to address food insecurity issues with the materials that nature provides,” she added.

Best of luck to these students as they represent Wake Forest in the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge next month!

Learn more about the challenge here.






CICE Recognizes Outstanding Entrepreneurs

Award Winners

On April 21, Wake Forest’s Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship honored the University’s outstanding entrepreneurs at the Annual ICE Excellence Celebration. Ricky Van Veen (’03), the co-founder of CollegeHumor, Vimeo, and BustedTees, was presented with the 2016 Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award. You can read more about Van Veen’s keynote address and his award here.

In addition to Van Veen’s Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award, one faculty member and six students were also recognized at the event.

The Russell D. and Elfriede Hobbs Faculty Award for Exceptional Support of Entrepreneurship

Dr. Bill Conner

Bill and MicheleConner was recognized for his advocacy of and support for CICE. Under his guidance, faculty passed the entrepreneurship and social enterprise minor in 2005. Since then, 64 courses with entrepreneurship as a central theme have been added to the curriculum. “The success of this program is in large part because of his tireless efforts,” said Michele Gillespie, dean of Wake Forest College.


The Russell D. and Elfriede Hobbs Student Award for Entrepreneurial Achievement (Commercial Venture)

Junior economics major Lauren Miller and senior health and exercise science major Olivia Wolff for UpDog Kombucha

Updog UpdatedUpDog Kombucha brews delicious, handcrafted kombucha, a specialty tea with naturally occurring probiotics, enzymes and acids that support digestive and immune health. Since January, Miller and Wolff have produced up to 150 bottles of kombucha weekly and sell to Wake Forest students and a local food truck, La Vie en Rose.


Chambers Family Fund Student Award for Entrepreneurial Achievement

Sophomore business and enterprise management major William Wang for The Media

Wang updated

During the fall of 2015, Wang launched The Media, a Provost-Office based, on-line student-run organization that provides credible digital content to enhance cohesiveness within the Wake Forest community. He also established the iTunes U platform for Wake Forest University, introduced a University Photography Contest, and launched an entirely new category of service, “University News.”


ICE Student Award for Excellence in Innovation

Freshman Arthur Willson for SimpullCork

ArthurSimpullCork is an easy-open wine solution that uses an integrated loop to remove the cork from a wine bottle. Though he is just a freshman, Willson, along with Hannah Shows, represented Wake Forest at this year’s inaugural ACC InVenture Prize at Georgia Tech, impressing administrators and entrepreneurs from throughout our conference.


Lelia and David Farr Award for Excellence in Entrepreneurship

WalkerSenior computer science major Kurt Walker for Spool

Spool, which launched on the Apple App Store in early September 2015, allows users to create a Spool, a short video or phrase, then submit a short, looping video around the theme of that Spool, which shows up on the feeds of the creator’s followers. Because of this student’s efforts, Spool acquired approximately 15% of the undergraduate student body at Wake Forest.


VentureWell University Innovation Fellow

Junior finance major Keshav Daga

DagaDaga distinguished himself as an entrepreneurial leader in his freshman year, when he joined the E-Society and became involved in various CICE events and programs. This year, as a junior, Daga served as the University Innovation Scholar. In this role, he explored ways to inspire more innovation and entrepreneurship activities on campus. He was also awarded the Orton Scholarship for his entrepreneurial leadership.


Congratulations to this year’s award winners!








Mission: Educate Bahamas – ESE Graduate Makes a Difference

By Allison Pennington, Communications Intern, Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship

AlexisAlexis Tsavoussis (’15), an English major with Economics and ESE minors, grew up in the Bahamas until the age of six, but continued to travel to the Bahamas often to spend school breaks and summers with her family. Five years ago as a senior in high school, Tsavoussis, along with her siblings, founded a non-profit entitled Mission: Educate Bahamas to improve reading within the country. In the years since then, Mission: Educate Bahamas has continued to grow and in August 2016, the organization will be in every single primary school in Nassau. Today, Tsavoussis, a recent Wake gradudate, works full time as the founder and co-director of the organization.

Five years ago, Tsavoussis and her family found that most primary students in the Bahamas were reading at a level that was often two grade levels lower than where they should be. Tsavoussis, who attended high school in Tampa, Florida, was introduced to a program called TuneIn to Reading during her senior year. Tsavoussis and her brothers decided to bring TuneIn to Reading to Nassau in order to improve literacy in the primary school system. As a result of their hard work, today, Mission: Educate Bahamas is a formally registered non-profit organization in Nassau, Bahamas that is committed to significantly impacting the lives of the country’s children through education.

TuneIn to ReadingTuneIn to Reading, the program that Mission: Educate Bahamas uses to raise reading levels, uses melodic learning to teach students how to read. “Imagine karaoke as a method of teaching students how to read,” explained Tsavoussis. “Essentially, each student uses the program to click on a song where they can gain points to continue to advance to the next level. They have the song sung to them three times where the words light up and they click on challenge words to learn them. After that, they sing the song five times and the words light up and track their voice, like karaoke. At the end, there is a quiz to test comprehension.”

Mission: Educate Bahamas’ value proposition explains: “Our number one goal is to improve literacy in our primary school system by delivering the key tools, critical resources, and ongoing teacher training needed to engage and educate today’s student body. By way of the melodic learning program TuneIn To Reading (TIR) we have spent the past five years working to make our mission a reality.” Mission: Educate Bahamas donates new laptops, headsets, computer carts, routers, dedicated modems, and security systems, in addition to training teachers and resource coordinators.

Mission Educate BahamasThe results of TuneIn to Reading are astounding. “If a student uses the program for ninety minutes a week over the course of nine weeks, their reading level will improve by at least 1.4 grade levels,” Tsavoussis explained. Today, with the support of the Bahamian Ministry of Education, Mission: Educate Bahamas has gone from a handful of primary schools to 32 in Nassau and the Family (Outer) islands. “We were able to start this program originally with the support of just a few corporate sponsors,” Tsavoussis said. “But the sponsorship base has expanded greatly over the past 5 years and now includes the public sector of the Ministry of Education. I think I am most proud of how well a Public Private Partnership can work to actively affect change.”

To learn more about Mission: Educate Bahamas, visit their website here.




Ricky Van Veen Honored at the 2016 ICE Excellence Awards Celebration

By Allison Pennington, Communications Intern, Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship

“If everything you do is a success, I’m willing to bet you haven’t risked much.” – Ricky Van Veen

On Thursday, April 21, Ricky Van Veen (’03), a Wake Forest graduate and the co-founder of CollegeHumor, BustedTees, and Vimeo, joined Provost Rogan Kersh for a fireside chat in Broyhill Auditorium as part of the ICE Excellence Awards Celebration. After the informal conversation, Van Veen was presented with the Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award, which recognizes an individual who has demonstrated outstanding entrepreneurial spirit, creativity, achievement, and social responsibility. Van Veen’s success as an entrepreneur and innovator is an inspiration to students, faculty, and staff at Wake Forest University.

Van Veen shared his own entrepreneurial story with the students, faculty, and others in attendance. While working on his Information Systems degree as an undergraduate at Wake Forest University, he co-founded CollegeHumor in the Johnson basement in 1999.  Since then, CollegeHumor has exploded into the largest comedy property on the internet and the most viewed comedy channel on YouTube.  Van Veen also co-founded the hit video-sharing site, Vimeo, as well as BustedTees, one of the leading Internet based t-shirt brands.  He is a pioneer in digital content development, production, and marketing, as well as brand management.

20160421entrepreneurship2536When asked what advice he would give to students, Van Veen explained the importance of taking risks. “If everything you do is a success, I’m willing to bet you haven’t risked much,” he said. Though Van Veen’s story is definitely one of entrepreneurial success, he explained that he has had his fair share of projects that did not work out. He encouraged students to consider the scalability and defensibility of their idea, but in the end, be willing to take the risk that is needed to become a success. Van Veen also encouraged students to take advantage of the resources they have available to them today as college students in order to start their own businesses: “It’s easier than ever to start a business in college. I started CollegeHumor in 1999, then the Dotcom Crash hit in 2001, but I had a safety net: my meal card,” he explained amidst laughs from the audience.

Group shotVan Veen reminded students to take advantage of their college careers to build the entrepreneurial skills that employers are looking for, whether they want to eventually start their own business or not. “Technology is obliterating a lot of jobs today, but it cannot obliterate the people who come up with ideas,” he said. “To come up with good ideas, you need a little knowledge from a lot of areas. That’s the benefit of a liberal arts education, so absorb as much as you can and take it all in.”

To learn more about the ICE Awards Celebration or other award winners, you can read WFU News’ coverage here.