Skip to main content

Kean University

Kean Empowers Student Entrepreneurs at Annual Business Plan Competition

The winner of the Business Plan Competition, Joceline Guerra, stands with Kean's provost holding a big check for $6,000.

A Kean University student’s concept for high-tech activewear with a focus on sustainability took one of the top prizes in Kean’s recent Business Plan Competition, in which young entrepreneurs from several colleges competed for start-up funding for their business ideas.

Joceline Guerra, a senior management and business analytics student from Elizabeth, took the $6,000 top prize in the Next Gen Innovators Track for her business concept, Elyon Activewear, to offer affordable, high-quality and technologically advanced performance sportswear.

“I’m so grateful for this because I realize that I’m not the only one who sees a bright future for Elyon Activewear,” Guerra said. “I really want Elyon to grow, to be able to tell the story of how it started from scratch, how we competed, and how Kean University has been key for this success.”

The competitors and judges at the Business Plan Competition pose on stage.

Hosted by Kean’s College of Business and Public Management (CBPM), the competition awarded a total of $25,000 to winning students in three categories. The Next Gen Innovators Track focused on groundbreaking business concepts; the Community Roots Track supported traditional, community-focused businesses; and the third track was for high school students. 

“This year’s competition encouraged students to be innovators in their communities,” said Jin Wang, Ph.D., dean of CBPM. “It was an opportunity for students to apply their classroom knowledge, hone their entrepreneurial skills, and make a significant impact with their ideas.”

Kean and Wenzhou-Kean University (WKU) students competed alongside students from other institutions, including NJIT and Montclair State University. Twelve teams chosen from the 64 submissions pitched their business plans to a panel of professional judges – business leaders and entrepreneurs – at the Miron Student Center on Kean’s Union campus on Monday, April 22. 

Kean and WKU students took eight of the top 10 prizes. 

The student entrepreneurs represented a variety of majors, including computer science, communication and public administration. Business proposals were also varied, offering revolutionary health and wellness programs, AI-based systems, educational training and more.

“The diverse array of projects this year not only demonstrates the innovative spirit of our students but also reinforces the vibrant entrepreneurial culture we nurture here at Kean,” said Assistant Professor Ipek Kocoglu, Ph.D., co-chair of the competition. 

“We are immensely proud of the collaborative spirit and hard work everyone brought to this year's competition,” said Assistant Professor Saran Nurse, Ph.D., co-chair of the competition.

This summer, competitors will participate in a mentorship program designed to further develop and implement their ideas.