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“The most key part is presentation”: Katarina Rainovic’s Story

Driehaus Cup
​​​​For most students, the Driehaus Cup is their first time participating in a pitch competition.

For Katarina Rainovic, it was her third.

"I guess the third time’s the charm,” she jokes. A transfer student who entered DePaul as a junior, Katarina had already participated in two pitch competitions as part of the entrepreneurship curriculum at Dominican University. Her experience gave her insight into how to stand out.

Most students, she says, gravitate towards pitching coffee shops or cafes. She encouraged her team to think more broadly: to search for a real need that was going unmet.

“Our group got close. We would always chat after class,” she says. “And one of the things we would always talk about was taking the CTA to get to school – all the weird experiences we had.” 

These conversations evolved into the team’s business idea: CTA Safety.

CTA Safety would be an app – one that would allow transit users to report safety concerns discreetly and anonymously, without drawing unwanted attention like the current reporting system does.

The idea resonated: first with Katarina’s classmates and professor, and then with the judges of the spring 2023 Driehaus Cup, which the CTA Safety team won.

The victory expanded Katarina's vision for her future.

“I wasn’t sure if I wanted to open a business,” she says. Though she is studying business management, the plan was always to become a lawyer. “But then, my team won the Cup, and after we won, the president of DePaul spoke to our group and said that this was a good idea, that we should invest in it.”

Now, Katarina is considering specializing in business law. Regardless of where her path takes her, the Driehaus Cup has given her essential skills.

“I think that entrepreneurship and law go hand in hand,” she says. “The most key part in both is presentation. If you’re a lawyer, you have to present your case, you have to present your client. And when you’re an entrepreneur, you’re showing why this product or service is needed.”

The Driehaus Cup drove that lesson home. She credits her team’s success to their hard work and preparation.

“If you want to win, you have to put the work into it,” she says. “You need to be prepared to work together in a group, to have good communications skills."

Her biggest takeaway? Experiences like the Driehaus Cup encourage students to push themselves in ways they wouldn’t otherwise.

The Driehaus Cup, she says, “teaches college students to think more creatively, and think more innovatively. That’s what we want: to have people leave DePaul and have business ideas, and be entrepreneurs. If we don’t have these competitions, people don’t think about this type of stuff.”

This piece is part of Voices of the Driehaus Cup, a series of five interviews with students who competed in the first three Driehaus Cup competitions. In this series, you'll hear from a wide range of voices: first-year students and transfer students; seasoned entrepreneurs and students just embarking on their careers. One through-line: Competing in the Driehaus Cup helped all five students push themselves into the next phase of their career.​