UniFi, a mobile app focused on financial wellness and onboarding, won the Bernard and Murray Spain Grand Prize at the 20th annual Be Your Own Boss Bowl® (BYOBB®), a Temple University-wide business plan competition.
Led by Jessica Rothstein, an MBA student at Temple’s Fox School of Business, the UniFi team won $60,000 in prize money at the April 19 final presentations. The earnings will immediately support UniFi’s acquisition of talent and technical resources.
“Our team celebrated winning Be Your Own Boss Bowl®, but for us, it was right back to work,” Rothstein said. “We have so much to achieve in the coming weeks and months, and two pilots to launch this summer. Winning this competition will definitely help us reach our goals.”
UniFi’s mission is to solve financial illiteracy through a digital platform purchased by companies and distributed to their employees. The app, Rothstein said, aims to improve communication between employers and employees to curb low adoptive rates of benefits packages—a workplace epidemic that exists nationwide, Rothstein said.
Additionally, UniFi will create “a snapshot of a user’s finances, centralizing statements for employee benefits and mortgages,” Rothstein said, and offer access to critical financial resources “in language everyone can understand.” UniFi also will provide 24/7 support, either through text messaging or social media.
“We’re not financial advisors. We’re translators,” said Rothstein, whose business partners include Lauren Della Porta and fellow Fox MBA alumnus Derek Miller. “The world’s top financial institutions have created this content and shared it on the Internet, but people don’t understand it, or know how to look for it.”
BYOBB® is the flagship program of Temple’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI), and is ranked one of the nation’s most-lucrative business plan competitions. This year, 12 finalists representing five of Temple’s 17 schools and colleges delivered presentations in competition for more than $200,000 in cash prizes and related products and professional accounting, legal, and marketing services.
BYOBB® features three distinct tracks. The winners from each were:
- Social Impact Track: Ovarian Lab. Led by College of Engineering student Emily Kight, the company produced an in-home, non-invasive urine test that screens for ovarian cancer.
- Undergraduate Track: Kovarvic LLC. The company, led by Fox School student Daniel Couser, developed a handheld device that uses pulses of vibration to influence brain waves and de-escalate anxiety attacks.
- Upper Track: UniFi.
“Even if you don’t win, you’ve already won,” said Temple provost and executive vice president JoAnne Epps, addressing the competition’s finalists. “You are our future. The notion going forward that says, ‘We do things this way, but why can’t we do it differently?’ That’s you who are posing those important questions, and that’s you who are forcing us to answer them.”
IEI recognized Steve Charles, KLN ’80, with the Self Made and Making Others Award, celebrating lifetime achievement in entrepreneurship. A Temple University Trustee, Charles recently gifted $10 million to support the university and Temple Libraries.
And for the ninth year, IEI recognized students who best demonstrate the passion for entrepreneurship that was embodied by former Fox School professor Dr. Chris Pavlides. Entrepreneurship major Douglas Trachtman and Real Estate major Jalen West received the Pavlides Family Award.
Learn more about the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute.