Purpose-Driven Startups Compete for Prizes

Four Chicago startups with ties to DePaul pitched their purpose-driven businesses in the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center’s second annual Purpose Pitch Competition May 3.

Held at 1871, Chicago’s tech business incubator, the competition was a unique pitch session where founders had five minutes to present their startups’ purposes instead of pitching investors on its profit-making potential. Each company had at least one student, alumnus or employee in its leadership team. The four companies split the $25,000 in award money and were recognized as the “Most Purposeful Startups in Chicago.”  

"I love seeing the commitment that our students and alumni have to make a difference in the world," says Bruce Leech, executive director of the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center. "I look forward to this event every year to see what kind of causes in this world people are embracing to solve.”

The four startups competing for the top prize were:

  • Universala Esports. Esteban Perez, a Driehaus student, is planning to create a community-centered business with the goal of providing e-sports centers for young people throughout Chicago and beyond.
  • 10th Avenue Tea. Ann Foley (LAS ’99) is the co-founder and CEO of 10th Avenue Tea which delivers instant matcha tea powder in a patent-pending eco-friendly shaker bottle.
  • The Furever Home Friends. Savy Leiser, a current DePaul student at the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (LAS) , has developed a series of children’s books that tell the stories of real shelter dogs and teaches kids about social issues.
  • AK Prosthetics. LAS student Adero Knott is looking to start a tech-driven prosthetic limb company that empowers people and builds confidence through customized and easily accessible prosthetics.

Learn more about DePaul’s entrepreneurship programs: 

View a photo gallery to find out more, including which startup went home with the top prize.