College of Engineering alumnus Enoque Panzo among top winners at virtual pitch competition; Fox School students Bryan Huang and Francis Duong win undergraduate track
Kiese Technologies LLC, a company that is making new technologies that will be used to help advance the construction industry, earned $60,000 in total prizes at the 23rd annual Be Your Own Boss Bowl® (BYOBB®), a Temple University-wide initiative housed in the Fox School of Business.
BYOBB®, held Thursday, April 22, in a virtual format for the second straight year, 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.
Kiese Technologies LLC, consisting of College of Engineering alumnus Enoque Panzo, ENG ’11, Penn State alumnus Getenet Mohammed and Columbia alumnus Anna Panzo, 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.
“I’m really, really excited and I’m so thankful that we were recognized in this way,” Panzo said.
The team plans to use the prize money for marketing as well as some operational costs. Kiese Technologies also plans to start an internship program this summer, and hopes to hire Temple students, as well.
“This entire process has been great,” Panzo said. “ It showed us that we’re up to something that is good and valuable. It validated everything we’ve been workin on over the last several months, too. We really thank the community and look forward to collaborating with the Temple community in the future.”
More than 160 teams participated in this year’s BYOBB®, and the eight finalist teams included students or graduates from four of the University’s 17 schools. In total, cash and in-kind prize packages valued at more than $200,000 were awarded to participants.
“Congratulations to all of this year’s winners and participants. The IEI and BYOBB® has historically served as an entrepreneurial launch pad for the entire Temple University community, and this year is no different,” said Ronald Anderson, dean of the Fox School. “And for every aspiring entrepreneur who participated in the competition, just being here is significant and it shows just how close you are to taking your vision to the next level.”
BYOBB® features two specific tracks this year. The first-place finisher in each track receives a $20,000 cash prize. This year’s winners include the following.
Undergraduate Track: Jojo. Led by Fox School students Bryan Huang and Francis Duong as well as Penn State Abington student Dennis Josifi, Jojo is a boba tea company that gives users 24/7 access to boba tea at below-market prices.
Upper Track: Kiese Technologies LLC.
Every year, BYOBB® also features a keynote speaker who shares the story behind their own entrepreneurial journey while also offering advice. This year’s keynote was delivered by Nicole Marquis, TFMA ’05, owner of HipCityVeg as well as several other restaurants and co-founder of Save Philly Restaurants.
Marquis’ story was powerful, especially given the current circumstances. In a Q&A with Ceridwyn King, an associate professor in the School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management, Marquis detailed how the pandemic has challenged her business, but noted how it’s a reminder of how all entrepreneurs must roll with punches when adversity presents itself.
“I learned about the importance of allowing my team to try new things and take major risks because some of them will be hugely successful but part of that was me letting them know that it’s ok if some things fail. I wanted them not to fear failure,” Marquis said. “That was especially important during that time where we really had to try everything to be creative.”