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Carroll County Times
Carroll County Education

Top prize at McDaniel’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Challenge goes to senior’s pitch for a virtual basketball academy

McDaniel senior Joshua Arruda believes basketball will always be part of his life. His vision just got a little closer to reality after his business pitch for a basketball training service won the top prize at the college’s sixth annual Innovation and Entrepreneurship Challenge Thursday night.

Arruda, who is pursuing majors in accounting, economics, and business administration, is from Pennsylvania. His presentation on “HiQ Basketball,” a subscription service that would deliver basketball training to young athletes individually or through basketball camps, earned two cash prizes totaling $6,000.

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The service would combine elements of the video game NBA2k with Zoom and Twitch to create a virtual classroom that allows participants to learn fundamentals of basketball in a remote environment, Arruda said.

Arruda was among five student-led teams that pitched ideas for four cash prizes — $5,000 for first place, $1,000 for second place, $1,000 for the People’s Choice award, and $1,000 for the Community Changer award, a new category in the competition. Prize money was funded by alumni donations.

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Arruda won first place and the People’s Choice award and plans to use the prize money to market HiQ Basketball.

“My business is relatively low cost, so I’ll be able bring my classes to [basketball] camps and get this thing really going,” he said.

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Arruda credits his achievements to McDaniel College, which has manifested an ecosystem of successful entrepreneurs, he said.

“McDaniel has done me some wonders — in the past three years competing in the ‘Pitch to Get Paid’ and Innovation Challenge really has allowed me to grow and use the resources,” he said. “Despite being a small school McDaniel has provided a great alumni network to provide us a lot of opportunities.”

The competition, held at Naganna Forum in Roj Student Center, was judged by Brooke Hagerty, owner of the catering company The Chick in Westminster; Rosa Rivera-Hainaj, McDaniel College provost who oversees academic and campus life; and Jason Stambaugh, an entrepreneur based in Westminster and 2007 McDaniel alumnus.

Runner-up went to sophomore Laura Vonella, an art-communication major with a minor in entrepreneurship. She won $1,000 for Aunt Fancy’s, a proposal to sell honey and other bee products at a physical store location.

Sophomore Kiyara Fleming, a sociology major from Baltimore, won $1,000 for the Community Changer Award. Her business, Dspence LLC, is a clothing line inspired by historical Black missionaries. She hopes to spark education on Black history through fashion.

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The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Challenge is part of McDaniel’s Program in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, open to students in any major and aimed at developing core entrepreneurial skills, according to McDaniel’s website.


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