• 2019

    Collaborations, entrepreneurs moving their ventures forward, summer immersion events, book signings, elevator pitches, hackathons and much much more. Scroll forward for our 2019 year in review!

  • Stats at a glance

    totals across life of program





  • January

    We hit the ground running in 2019!

    Our entrepreneurs were eager to get a head-start on new goals for the year and we joined the party with several innovative events.

    6th Annual Fashion Tech Hackathon

    Students once again came together to form teams and spent 36 hours building apps, garments, and other wearable technologies at the 6th annual Fashion Tech Hackathon!

    Educator Retreat

    We teamed up with the Young Entrepreneur Institute to offer a retreat for K-12 educators focused on techniques and strategies for helping student entrepreneurs to succeed in business and life.

    Legal Hours

    We kicked off weekly legal consulting hours with the team at the Case Western Reserve University IPVC. Their student representatives provide our clients with advice regarding IP and legal concerns.

  • february

    While many students use their weekends to work or catch up on sleep or homework, a dozen Kent State students spent the weekend of February 15-17 participating in a global “virtual hackathon” called Invent for the Planet (IFTP). The 48-hour competitive event grew from an engineering-focused program from Texas A&M University called Aggies Invent, which evolved into a global design challenge. Read more about the KSU event here

    Accounting Hours Kickoff

    Representatives from CBIZ kicked off weekly office hours for clients seeking accounting help. CBIZ helps our entrepreneurs with tax, statement organization, and other financial questions.

    February, we kicked off All the CEO Ladies, a partnership between LaunchNET Kent State and the Kent State Women's Resource Center. It is a group of female-identifying business owners and potential entrepreneurs who meet regularly throughout the semester to learn, support one another, find mentors and partners, hear speakers, and get answers to issues.

  • Provok Media

    first place: $2500

    Gregory Joyce, a senior Finance major, pitched transforming his clothing company into a full media company with a social mission.


    Togetherness App

    second place: $1000

    Public Health graduate students Tam Nguyen, Dania Mofleh, Anthony Coetzer-Liversage, and Joud Roufael used their experiences as immigrants to the US to put together their smartphone app to bring together a host of useful resources for those newly come to the States.



    third place: $500

    Amrth Ashok Shenava, sophomore Computer Science major, presented his smartphone app that could be used as a replacement for the university ID card, to address issues of loss and security.

  • April

    Makers across all disciplines, from art and design to technology and science had the opportunity to exhibit and discuss their unique talents in one environment at the annual Kent State Mini Maker Faire, held at the University Library. Maker Faire is a gathering of fascinating, curious people who enjoy learning and who love sharing what they can do. From engineers to artists to scientists to crafters, Maker Faire is a venue to for these “makers” to show hobbies, experiments, and projects.

    Idea Labs

    Gregory Joyce and Amrth Ashok Shenava represented Kent State at the annual IdeaLabs competition presented by the Entrepreneurship Education Consortium. The event was held at Baldwin Wallace University and featured two student entrepreneur teams, from ten different universities, competing for the chance at additional venture funding.

    On Tuesday, April 23, LaunchNET Kent State celebrated its 6th annual Entrepreneur Awards and Expo event at Ray’s Place. In addition to celebrating the accomplishments of LaunchNET Kent State clients over the course of the year, the staff awarded university partners, alumni clients, Launch Fund recipients and the winners of the inaugural Paul L. Pfeiffer Endowed Scholarship fund.

  • Annette Kratcoski

    University Partner - staff/faculty

    Amrth Ashok Shenava and Jillian Eddy

    Rising Stars

    Student Media

    University Partner -Emerging

    Design Innovation

    University Partner - Department

  • May

    Client Profile: Chinonso Aladi

    Chinonso is a now-graduate of the Kent State Fashion School and hails from Nigeria, which is the inspiration for her fashion line that incorporates traditional African fabrics into modern pieces. While researching production possibilities for the full line, she has been designing and sewing custom pieces for customers. Continued...

    This month, we decided to profile one of our favorite university partners, Jackie Ruller (Assistant Dean, External Affairs for College of Aeronautics and Engineering). Jackie has done so much to promote LaunchNET to the students in the College of Aeronautics and Engineering that we gave her our University Partner, Staff award in 2018! We asked her a few questions to get to know her a little better. Continued...

    In addition to starting her own fashion brand in high school, Aceani Ross-Bigbee has dreams to inspire other would-be fashionistas become their best selves. We sat down to talk to her about what she’s working on and a little about herself. Continued...

  • Kent State Entrepreneur Pop-up Shop

    In May, our entrepreneurs once again set-up, showcased, and made sales at our Spring Pop-up shop at Tree City Coffee!

  • Summer

    Destination Kent State

    We started the summer by welcoming new Kent State students during the Destination Kent State program!

    On Tuesday, June 11, LaunchNET Kent State was honored with the annual “Excellence in Student Engagement” award from the Deshpande Symposium on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Higher Education. There were five categories with honors presented to six institutions, two organizations and three individuals. The awards program is overseen by Raj Melville, executive director of the Deshpande Foundation. The symposium takes place at UMass Lowell and was started by the foundation’s co-founder, technology entrepreneur Gururaj “Desh” Deshpande. Continued...

    From July 28 to August 2, 2019, forty students from ten different Northeast Ohio colleges and universities convened at Kent State to be immersed in an entrepreneurial experience like no other. For the five days and four nights students worked together, with faculty, staff, and regional business leaders, to create innovative solutions that address local industry and community challenges. The event is one of two major programs put on each year by the Entrepreneurship Education Consortium (EEC) and funded through the Burton D. Morgan Foundation. The event was hosted by LaunchNET Kent State, with support from University Libraries. Continued...

  • Entrepreneurship Immersion Week

    A closer look at the summer program

    Student Testimonials from the week

    Thanks to Blitz Studios for our great EIW video work!

  • September

    LaunchNET clients in the Kent State Bookstore

    Anne Cate and bykatiek were both featured front and center in the Kent State Bookstore this month! Congrats Katie and Anne!

    Kent Creativity Festival

    We setup at the Kent Creativity Festival, partnering with the School of Theater and Dance to offer "Puppet & Pitches."

    Fall Resource Fairs

    We trialed our new "Shark Tank" style game during the Fall Resource Fairs on campus.

    Elevator Pitch

    We once again jumped in the elevators in The University Library, to deliver our 90 second elevator pitches (business and personal).

  • October

    The Entrepreneur Life

    Our own student fellow and entrepreneur, Javon Miller, kicked off his workshop series, The Entrepreneur Life! Great work, Javon!

    LaunchNET hosts Junior Leadership Hudson

    Our LaunchNET student team put on a wonderful workshop series on entrepreneurship and elevator pitching to a group of high school students from Junior Leadership Hudson!

    Junior Achievement Conference

    This month, we were also part of a Junior Achievement Conference, hosting students here in the University Library!

    Thirteen cross-disciplinary teams presented in the Kent State competition for Mission:Life in October. The winning team, Virtual Harmony, presented their concept in the international competition at the PUCPR University in Brazil on November 11.


    Virtual Harmony is a novel concept for a music therapy interface utilizing virtual reality. The team is made up of three Kent State students: Alena Miskinis, undergraduate student in Music and English, Xiangxu “Shawn” Lin, a graduate student in Computer Science, and Shadi Kanan, graduate student in the College of Nursing.



  • November

    Marty Erbaugh Student Entrepreneur Scholarship

    Thank you for all the support of the Marty Erbaugh Student Entrepreneur Scholarship! We are so pleased to be able to honor Marty's memory by supporting more student entrepreneurs in their collegiate journey.


    Thanks to our generous donors, we were able to raise $44k for a new student entrepreneur scholarship through this Giving Tuesday Campaign!

    The November 1-3 SkyHack Design Challenge event hosted by the College of Aeronautics and Engineering and LaunchNET, attracted more than 115 participants from across the country. Copilot, a team of six Kent State University students, took the win for the $10,000 grand prize.



    Carrie Esser (2018) recently made it to the Top 5 in the country for the NYX FACE Awards, a national makeup artist competition. While she didn't end up the grand prize winner in that contest, we know she is definitely a winner for continuing to work on her passion and pound the pavement to make her dreams come true! We were lucky enough to catch up with Carrie and find out more about the experience as well as her entrepreneurial journey. Continued...

    Celebrating Veteran Entrepreneurship

    This month, LaunchNET and the Kent State CAVS office contributed to an event for local "vetpreneurs" along with Secretary of State Frank LaRose, State Representative Casey Weinstein, and other entrepreneurial resources in the area.

    We were lucky enough to run into some LaunchNET clients there too!

    Venture Book Signing

    In November, we hosted a group of LaunchNET friends and supporters for a book signing event, to celebrate our Venture book by our (alumni) designer, Emily Gommel. Venture is a collection of images, interviews, and stories of LaunchNET entrepreneurs past and present.
  • PechaKucha Akron Volume 16

    November also featured PechaKucha Akron Volume 16, where our own Tabitha Messmore was a presenter. PechaKucha Nights are informal and fun gatherings where creative people get together and share their ideas. Each presenter has 20 slides and 20 seconds per slide to present.

  • December

    Entrepreneur's Organization Global Student Entrepreneur Awards Finals

    Gregory Joyce competed and took 2nd place at the Cleveland competition of the Entrepreneur's Organization Global Student Entrepreneur Awards in November! Congrats Gregory!!

    You might call Alli Reich an overachiever... and you wouldn't be wrong! Her story encompasses a true entrepreneurial journey of exploring her passions. Lucky for us she took some time to tell us about it. Continued...

    Congratulations to the finalists and winners of the 2nd annual FlashLab Innovation Pitch Contest. The competition came to a close Dec. 3 where seven students pitched their ideas and the judges crowned four winners. Each winning idea will share up to $10,000 from the Student Media Innovation Fund in order to launch, test and maintain their ideas in the coming months. LaunchNET is a partner on this Student Media event and our own Zach Mikrut served a judge for the event.


    1st Place – Tyshaia Earnest and Kylah Carter (Fashion Merchandising majors, Fashion Media minors)

    2nd Place – Aidan Taylor (DMP and Pan African Studies double major)

    3rd Place – Rachel Hale (PR major)



  • Thank You!

    We would like to give a special shout-out and thank you to all of our student employees this year! LaunchNET would not have been able to produce these events and activities without your hard work throughout the year.

    Amrth Ashok Shenava

    Student Fellow

    Emily Gommel


    Javon Miller

    Student Fellow

    Janardhan Parimi

    Event Planning Assistant - EIW

    Kaitlyn McFadden

    Event Planning Assistant - Skyhack

    Madisen Mandell

    Student Fellow

    Morgan Hamlin


    Rhonda Baldwin

    Student Fellow

    Taylor Savage

    Student Fellow

  • Thank you!

    A huge thanks to all of our

    entrepreneurs, collaborators, partners,

    mentors, supporters, and everyone!


    A special thank you to the Burton D. Morgan Foundation, University Libraries, our advisory board members, Office of the Provost, and all of our University partners for your support in 2019!


    2019 was an amazing year & here's to an awesome 2020!