April 24, 2020
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Fox School Honors alumnae Sarah Stanton and Rachel Stanton among top prize winners at 22nd annual event

Sarah Stanton, left, and Rachel Stanton represented Switch Stream, the grand prize winner at this year’s Be Your Own Boss Bowl®. The company makes wearable devices that help persons with physical impairments control their electronics.

Switch Stream, a company that makes wearable devices that help persons with physical impairments control their electronics, earned $60,000 in total prizes at the 22nd annual Be Your Own Boss Bowl® (BYOBB®), a Temple University-wide initiative that is housed in the Fox School of Business.

BYOBB®, held Thursday, April 23, in a virtual format for the first time, is the flagship program of Temple’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI). It’s one of the most lucrative pitch competitions in the nation and is open to all Temple students, alumni, faculty and staff.

Switch Stream, which consisted of Fox Honors alumnae Sarah Stanton, BBA ’14, and Rachel Stanton, BBA ’14, as well as Tyler Berezowsky, ENG ’16, and Steven Heyen, CST ’14, received $40,000 for winning the Bernard Spain, FOX ’56, and Murray Spain, FOX ’65, Grand Prize. The team received an additional $20,000 for winning the competition’s Upper Track.

“We’re over the moon. We’ve worked so hard, so it feels just great to be recognized. We’re just so excited that BYOBB® is recognizing accessibility products,” Sarah Stanton said.

The team plans to use the money to finish development of its smart hub as well as its app. They hope to have their product piloted in local schools by this fall.

“We plan to hopefully have it used in some Philadelphia schools soon,” Rachel Stanton said. “This funding is just everything for us. It is the jumpstart to really push development and really help us get started. We are just so happy to get to work.”

BYOBB® received 73 submissions this year, and the 12 finalist teams included students or graduates from six of the University’s 17 schools. In total, cash and in-kind prize packages valued at more than $200,000 were awarded to participants.

“It’s exciting, it’s exhilarating and it really reminds me of what this country needs: people who are future thinking, seeing a need and figuring what they might do to fill that need,” said Temple provost and executive vice president JoAnne Epps prior to the event’s start. “Also, what a better time than this year to remind ourselves of the importance of all this.”

BYOBB® features three specific tracks. The first-place finisher in each track receives a $20,000 cash prize. This year’s winners include the following.

Social Impact Track: Nebula Media Impact. The company, led by Will Bubenik, ’18 STH, harnesses the power of Artificial Intelligence to make websites and social media content accessible to people with disabilities by offering on-demand web and content accessibility solutions. 

Undergraduate Track: Toasté. Led by College of Engineering students Gia Phan, Gavin Koma, Yu-Jie Liao and Chau Nguyen, Toasté is a wearable watch that can restore thermal comfort for users within 10 minutes by raising the perceived temperature by 5°F. 

Upper Track: Switch Stream.

Each year, the event also welcomes a keynote speaker to share his or her own entrepreneurial journey. This year’s keynote was delivered by Brian Linton, CLA ’08, founder of United by Blue and winner of the 2008 BYOBB®. 

Linton’s speech was especially resonant this year. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, BYOBB® was forced to move online. The virtual format might not have been what participants initially desired, but they adapted. Linton said that’s a key trait for any successful entrepreneur.

“There are lots of lessons to be learned in entrepreneurship. It often parallels the lessons of life but at the speed of sound. And now, in the COVID era, we are all learning at light speed,” Linton said. “Don’t be discouraged by the challenges of the world. Instead, embrace them.”

Be Your Own Boss BowlBrian LintonBYOBBFox SchoolIEIInnovation and Entrepreneurship InstituteSwitch StreamTempleUnited by Blue