2017 People’s Choice Student Startup Awards: Finalists

HatchPad is delighted to announce the seven finalists for this year’s People’s Choice Student Startup Awards in the for-profit and nonprofit categories. The People’s Choice Student Startup Awards offers business grants to winning startups run by founders 25 or younger and is a joint collaboration between HatchPad and KidBacker Foundation for Entrepreneurshipa new 501c3 that offers business grants and academic scholarships to student entrepreneurs. HatchPad provides the platform for student entrepreneurs to showcase their businesses and participate in competitions and KFE provides the funding for the business grants.

Participants go through a rigorous submission process which includes creating a venture page on HatchPad, securing social traction, submitting an executive summary, investor deck, both a customer and investor-facing video, detailed financials, market sizing, current traction, and other important information. Participants are evaluated based on the feasibility and growth opportunity their businesses represent.

We are very impressed by the quality of the submissions and the passion that these young founders have demonstrated. And it’s not just the passion that is inspiring, it’s the fact that these young entrepreneurs are in high school, applying to college, in their first year of college or in some cases, focusing their first jobs right out of college while also running an active company.

Judges will select one winner in each category: For-Profit and Nonprofit. Each winner will receive a $2,500 non-equity business grant to help move their company forward.

We are listing the finalists below. Click on the image to link to their profile on HatchPad. If you like their business concept, why not show some love and like and follow their page? This is, of course, The People’s Choice Student Startup Awards.

Interested in identifying youth-driven innovation and funding more young entrepreneurs through business grants and academic scholarships? Check out KidBacker Foundation for Entrepreneurship and find out how you can make an impact.

For-Profit Finalists 

Centree Smart Cities and Emergency Detection




Detrapel David Zamarin student startup founder and his co-founding team



Gauge Insights Jonathan Allen


Greetale Founding Team Rustin Rassoli


Nonprofit Finalists

4Girls Tech Mercer Henderson Founder


Teensgive.org Helena Zimmerman Max Mindich


Transfernation co-founding team



  • Cristin Frodella, Global Head Marketing, Google for Education
  • Danielle Strachman, Founding Partner, 1517 Fund
  • Renee Farmer, Managing Partner, Rainmaker Capital
  • John Euliano, Angel Investor and leader in education
  • Barbara Raho, Angel Investor and co-founder of Urban Outfitters
  • Holly Zimmerman, Managing Director, Golden Seeds
  • Mario Ciampi, Partner, Prentice Capital and former President The Disney Store
  • Aaron Easaw, Managing Director, Ace Capital

KidBacker Foundation for Entrepreneurship and Hatchpad have positioned themselves to attract, develop and fund the next generation of talent and business leaders to lead sustainable economic growth around the world. KidBacker Foundation for Entrepreneurship is a critical part of our children’s future.


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About the Author: Heather Holst-Knudsen

Heather L Holst-Knudsen, a New York City area native and now resident of Sarasota, FL, is the CEO & Founder of KidBacker and HatchPad. A passionate entrepreneur, Heather has founded and led multiple business units for large organizations. She is founder and former President of Manufacturing Enterprise Communications, a B2B media platform that connects CXOs in manufacturing with senior level leaders in technology around the world. Manufacturing Enterprise Communications was sold to Frost & Sullivan in August 2012. Prior to Manufacturing Enterprise Communications, Heather was founder and President of Managing Automation Media and TechMatch Solutions, all divisions of Thomas Publishing Company in New York City. Heather is a trusted advisor to many top manufacturing and technology organizations including Cisco, AT&T, Google, SAP, Oracle, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Ford, L’Oreal, Procter & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive and more. She has 25 years of B2B media experience, is a veteran digital media expert, and has been in a C-level leadership role for over 20 years. She has won multiple awards for innovation in media. Heather believes in and respects the imagination, creativity, and fearlessness that young business minds bring to the table and is passionate about unleashing their entrepreneurial skills and spirit so they can own their own destiny. Holst-Knudsen has an SBLL from Georgetown University, Washington, DC. Heather also is Chairman of the Board and Founder of KidBacker Foundation for Entrepreneurship, a new 501c3 that will award seed grants and scholarships to young entrepreneurs to help fund their education and their businesses.

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