HSA Awards $11K To Entrepreneurs

Internet startups, which took Wall Street by storm in the past few years, swept first through third places last night in the Harvard Student Agencies' (HSA) second annual Entrepreneurial Contest.

Andrew S. Chung '01 and Matthew C. Ebbel '00 were each awarded $2,500 for a Web site they created called Chung and Ebbel will use their winnings to launch their business with the aid of Fidelity Investments.

Chung and Ebbel declined to describe the precise nature of their site.

"This company will use the Web to enhance college student's lives in a way that we hope will revolutionize information markets specified to college markets," Ebbel said.

The site is not yet functional.


Second prize was awarded to Richard M. Powell '01 and Pranav Anand '01, who each received $1,250 for their creation of an international on-line sports recruiting system.

Thomas M. Fallows '99, a member of the Harvard Crew team, was awarded third prize, $1,500, for his creation of a Web site that provides rowers with direct links to manufacturers and distributors of rowing equipment.

One of two honorable mentions and a prize of $1,000 went to Nan Ding '02 for her creation of "Friends and Shelter for Teens" (F.A.S.T.), a teen organization designed to prevent domestic violence.

The other honorable mention went to Thomas A. Kim '00 who created a software program to enable small businesses to create better Web sites.

HSA presented a total of $11,000 in cash awards to the student entrepreneurs last night at the Sheraton Commander Hotel. Seventy-five entries were submitted to the competition last December and were reviewed in January by a panel of 12 judges.

Ten finalists were selected to give a presentation of their business propositions in February, and the five winners were announced last night.

"This has been an incredible experience, possibly the best experience I have had at Harvard," Chung said.

Powell, a former member of the Canadian Olympic Soccer team, said he and Anand created their recruiting system to facilitate connections between athletes and coaches worldwide. Of their win, they said, "We are look- ing forward to using the money to start this upfor real."

This was the first year that HSA hasacknowledged non-profit organizations such asF.A.S.T. Ding described her organization as aninitiative created by teens for their peers.

"The main goal is to keep this as a teenorganization. We want to give teens the chance tobe independent," she said.

Kim explained his plan for a Java-based softwareprogram that would help small businesses todevelop networks among themselves. "The basic ideais to retool the existing Web to build a richeroverall network for the exchange of data," hesaid.

Guest speaker at the awards ceremony was JohnH. Chuang '87, founder and CEO of MacTemps, anorganization that helps independent professionalsto be successful by placing them in various jobs.

Chuang, whose first business venture--CafeLamont, a snack bar in Lamont Library--was not asuccess, encouraged the student entrepreneurs.

"Entrepreneurs are special because they arereally good at eliminating the downside and takingrisks," he said. "When starting an entrepreneurialventure, it is very important to think big. Bebold, try big things. That is what I think reallymakes life worth living."

Chuang stressed the benefits of being anentrepreneur, saying that even those who did notwin could still be successful.

"The beauty of entrepreneurship is that youlearn those lessons, and they really resonate withyou because you own everything," he said

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