About NCCU Academics Admissions Athletics Campus Life Giving Research

NCCU Entrepreneurs Win 'Generation Next' Contest

From L to R : Jordyn Weaver, Omari Hunt and Tyler Walker

Three young entrepreneurs from North Carolina Central University (NCCU) received top honors in United Way’s Idea Generation Next: College Edition pitch contest on Jan. 15, 2018.

Jordyn Weaver, Omari Hunt and Tyler Walker were awarded a total of $31,000 to be used toward implementation of their ideas following their pitch presentations at Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The goal of the contest, sponsored by United Way of the Greater Triangle, was to develop a viable enterprise for addressing poverty within the Triangle community.

“NCCU is very proud of the work these young entrepreneurs have done to develop their concepts for compassionate solutions to one of the region’s most serious social issues,” said NCCU Chancellor Johnson O. Akinleye. “All three demonstrated high levels of creativity, research and personal passion for their projects, which was evident to the judges.”

Hunt, a recent NCCU graduate, earned both the first-place and the crowd-sourced People’s Choice award for his 7-Day Plan Project, which focuses on helping low income seniors develop better budgeting and decision-making skills through one-on-one training and seminars focused on financial planning in retirement. Hunt receives $15,000 to move toward implementing his proposal and $1,000 as the People’s Choice award recipient.

Weaver, a junior, took second place with her pitch for The Black Market Co., designed to support minority-owned small businesses in order to help build and maintain wealth within the local community. The initiative would provide low-wealth individuals and families education in financial literacy, assist with business startups, and offer an online marketplace for minority businesses and brands. Weaver receives $10,000 for her project as runner-up.

Tyler Walker, also a junior, presented his idea for the nonprofit Education to Occupation Pipeline, which would work with Triangle businesses to forge a partnership with promising students otherwise unable to attend college. Along with sponsorship by a local business, the Pipeline program would link students to loan debt assistance programs. Walker is awarded $5,000 to further develop his project.  

In developing their enterprise proposals, the contestants received mentoring throughout the past few months from Undi Hoffler, Ph.D., director of NCCU’s Division of Research and Sponsored Programs, as well as support from Calleen Herbert, director of NCCU’s Office of Community Engagement and Service.

This was the second year in a row for an NCCU entrant to win the overall contest, which was designed to encourage innovative ideas for addressing poverty and other pervasive social problems. In 2017, Destiny Alexander, a student at NCCU, won the top spot for her pitch on behalf of The Tassel is Worth the Hassle, a program aimed at helping new mothers overcome financial hardship and other obstacles to continuing their education.

The 2018 winners were chosen from among 37 ideas submitted by contestants from six participating schools: Meredith College, North Carolina Central University, Saint Augustine’s University, Shaw University, Wake Technical Community College and William Peace University. From there, 19 semi-finalists were selected to participate in a business accelerator and coaching process with nonprofit leaders. Judges selected six finalists to pitch their ideas in the final competition.

Published: Monday, January 22, 2018
by Senior Writer and Editor, Renee Elder
See All NCCU News

Spread the Word

Post this story on Facebook
Tweet It

Get More News

  • See All NCCU News
  • Searchable Archives
  • Campus Echo, NCCU's perennially Award-Winning Student Newspaper
  • See Today's Top Story
  • Or,  
NCCU complies with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in all programs and activities (including sexual harassment and sexual violence) in the University's educational programs and activities. For additional resources or to file a Title IX complaint, visit the NCCU's Title IX webpage.
© 2018 North Carolina Central University 1801 Fayetteville St., Durham, NC 27707