DePaul’s Business Hackathon Teaches Students the Advantages of Entrepreneurship

15 April 2021
DePaul students working on a computer

DePaul University gave its business students an opportunity to learn the advantages of entrepreneurship in the recent hackathon presented by the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center (CEC). Students from the Driehaus College of Business competed in this hackathon to research, develop, and pitch ideas to help grow a Chicago-based small business, Danie’s Delicious Detox Drinks, with the potential to win a scholarship and a two-week internship. 

A Competition to Support the DePaul Business Degree 

A hackathon is a term most often used for computer science-related competitions, but in this case, the CEC asked students to use what they’ve learned in studying for their business degree programs and apply that knowledge to a real-world challenge. With a top 100 business program and nationally ranked entrepreneurship degree programs at undergraduate and graduate levels, DePaul is an ideal location for students to learn about starting their own businesses. This hackathon is one example of how that learning occurs outside of students’ courses.

After the first stage of the competition, the CEC and Danie, owner of the small business, narrowed the group to five teams of two to three students. Each team worked with a professional business mentor to help craft and position their strategies. Each team was named after an element in Danie’s cold-pressed juice drinks: UpBeet, Pearfection, Sunshine, Crazy Carrots and Super Greens.

After preparing their strategies, each team had 10 minutes to present and answer questions. Dr. Gretchen Frickx, director of the DePaul Global Gateway Program, watched the presentations. She observed, “All of the teams presented well-researched, well-thought-out strategies for Danie to consider.” Listen to what Dr. Frickx thought about the event in our video:

The teams of students presented action plans that included:

  • Pursuing small business loans to invest in production
  • Leveraging partnerships with delivery services like DoorDash and UberEats
  • Creating a subscription package including seasonal and holiday selections
  • Partnering with local gyms to increase visibility and sales
  • Targeting specific food markets as wholesale clients

Danie was the judge for the competition and rated each team in five areas. The lucky winner was Team Pearfection – who worked on a growth strategy.

Advantages of Entrepreneurship and Community Engagement

As Dr. Frickx said, “This event is a great example of how DePaul connects its students with the real world.  Every single student who was part of this competition got experience working with a real-life client in a true context.” In addition to that experience for students, DePaul supported a local small business with a great resource: students with innovative ideas. This hackathon was a great example of DePaul’s mission to connect with the local community.

Do you want to earn a business degree or become an entrepreneur? Enroll at DePaul today.