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Keith Block Entrepreneurship Competition

Congratulations to this year's winning teams!

Photo of Team TechFaced

First Place

Sana Lakdawala (Dietrich) and Sabrina Romansky (Dietrich) for TechFaced

TechFaced is a fraud prevention service that protects makeup consumers from falling victim to counterfeit makeup product scams. By providing a free app to confirm the authenticity of makeup products, consumers could be sure of the quality of their makeup, and legitimate makeup brands would be better equipped to shut down counterfeit producers and protect their brands.


Photo of Team Asymmetrics

Second Place

Lindsay Graff (Heinz), Laura Goyeneche (Heinz), Rosana Pineda Guzman (Heinz), Jana Macickova (Heinz), and Alvaro Gonzalez Magnolfi (Heinz) for Asymmetrics

Asymmetrics guides an individual’s process of choosing the optimal health care plan. To do so they proposed a decision support system that displays the plan that results in the lowest total expected cost for the person and explains the terms of the selected plan in a friendly and comprehensible manner.


Photo of Team Mellonheads

Third Place

Michelle Degutis (Heinz), Steffi Nazareth (Heinz), and Lois Weisfuse (Heinz) for StudentSaver

StudentSaver is a budgeting app and decision support tool for individuals with student loan debt. The app uses machine learning and behavioral nudges to simplify the confusing decisions around student loans, to improve user communication with loan servicers, and to increase user interaction with their finances. The app offers live e-consultations with experts in student loan debt and will eventually also have a bot on the platform to answer simpler questions. The app will specifically be marketed towards employers, as employee wellness is a growing interest of many companies.


Competition Description

Keith Block, Co-CEO of, is a proud alumnus of two of Carnegie Mellon University’s esteemed colleges: the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy. In 2018, Block and his wife, Suzanne Kelley, established the Block Center for Technology and Society at Carnegie Mellon through a generous gift to the university. The center focuses on seeding societal futures through technology, policy, and analytics. In this spirit, we are holding a competition this semester to foster new business ideas in the tech and society space.

The Contest

Proposals are expected to be entrepreneurial ventures that solve a problem in the marketplace and apply technology to address a societal need. A proposal should have the potential of being a viable and possibly transformative growth-oriented startup company. We expect you to form teams of two or more students (no solos) to present your business concept. Students from any part of the university are welcome to participate in this competition Each team will deliver a ten-minute presentation followed by questions from the review panel. The presentation and accompanying PPT deck should address the following questions:

  • What is the societal need?
  • What is your proposed solution?
  • Who is the target market?
  • What is the business model for the proposed venture (how will it be sustainable)?
  • What is the competitive landscape?


Teams must register for the competition by October 21th at 11:59pm using the REGISTRATION PORTAL.

Project proposals must be submitted by October 25th at 11:59pm (link to submit proposals will be sent to the team organizer via an automated email once a team is registered).

The competition will be held on Friday, November 8th from 9:00am to 12:00pm. The judges panel will be composed of faculty and industry partners.

Team Prizes:

1st place $5,500
2nd place $3,000
3rd place $2,500

Capstone Project Potential

Spring 2020 graduating Heinz students can present their business proposal as a capstone project submission. Mentorship from the Block Center is also available for students interested in incubating their idea.