2024 Zingale Big Idea Competition Crowns Seven Winners And Awards $32,000 In Prizes

This year the 2024 Zingale Big Idea Competition (ZBIC) at Allegheny College crowned seven student investor new-business pitch teams from four Western Pennsylvania colleges and awarded $32,000 in prizes. The ZBIC is one of many co-curricular activities offered by the Bruce R. Thompson Center For Business & Economics (CBE) at Allegheny College.

Held at Allegheny College’s new Advanced Laboratory For Innovation and Creativity (ALIC @ Bessemer) in downtown Meadville, student teams presented their innovative business ideas to a panel of six judges with experience in education, software, healthcare, real estate, and business development.

This year’s judges included:

2024 Big Idea Competition
Andrew Strobel ’24
  • Lance Zingale, retired executive VP and general manager, Sykes Enterprises
  • Steve Geimer, medical technology executive
  • John Golden, professor emeritus, Allegheny
  • Liana Leja, clinical research coordinator, Pales Orthopedic & Spine Institute
  • Clayton Morris, VP of development and leasing, Sampson Morris Group
  • Byron Rich, assistant provost of academic innovation and associate professor, Allegheny
  • Brian Slawin, director and portfolio manager, Ben Franklin Partners
  • Reece Smith ’24 , Allegheny College CBE Fellow
  • Autumn Vogel, Meadville City Council member and cooperative developer, Keystone Development Center

The new business ideas included:

  • an app and consulting service to help high school football players be recruited by college teams
  • an AI-driven app that designs logos and corporate branding
  • an encrypted door lock
  • a sports-focused graphic design consultancy
  • a coffee shop/safe space to address mental health concerns among college students
  • two college activity web portals

The winning teams were:

  • First Place ($10,000) – Athletes After – Justin DeMild & Max Muncy – Grove City College
  • Second Place ($8,000) – bi.ai – Oleksandra “Sasha” Safran ’25– Allegheny College
  • Third Place ($6,000) – Itellikey – Nick Tysiachney ’25– Allegheny College
  • Honorable Mention ($3,000) – Natalie Franke Designs – Natalie Franke -Westminster College
  • Honorable Mention ($3,000) – Bean There Drank That – Rebekah Schwenk & Megan Veon– Geneva College
  • Gator Spirit Big Idea ($1,000) – Rutendo Mavunga ’24 & Manasvi Bantawa ’24– Gator Gather– Allegheny College
  • Gator Spirit Big Idea ($1,000) – Andrew Strobel ’24 – Gator’s Den– Allegheny College

Pictured: Oleksandra “Sasha” Safran ’25 being presented a trophy by a robot at ALIC @ Bessemer.