This Startup Just Won The New Venture Challenge’s Biggest-Ever Prize: $1M

“We’re still in shock, but we’re unbelievably excited to win this award and to have finished first place in a competition with so many impressive teams,” said Clay Curran, MBA ’23, founder and CEO of FreshX, which won the top prize at the annual New Venture Challenge in Chicago. Courtesy photo

From Chicago: FreshX, a startup developing a supply chain software which helps food companies and freight brokers easily book and manage cold chain transportation and storage, has won first place in the 28th annual Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge.

FreshX was awarded $1M in investment, including the $185,000 Rattan L. Khosa First-Place Prize, at the NVC, the signature venture competition for MBA students at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. The $1M investment is the most ever given to a single team in the NVC.

The judges awarded $1.9M in total investment to the eleven teams competing in the finals, representing the largest investment pool in the 28-year history of the NVC.

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With a gift from C. Dean Metropoulos ’67, MBA’68, the new institute is a significant step forward in Babson’s strategic initiatives to advance and elevate the pivotal role of technology in entrepreneurial education. Photo: Justin Knight

With major gift, Babson launches new entrepreneurship & tech center

From Wellesley, Massachusetts: Babson College announced that C. Dean Metropoulos ’67, MBA’68 has made a transformational gift to launch the C. Dean Metropoulos Institute for Entrepreneurship and Technology. This marks a significant step forward in Babson’s strategic initiatives to advance and elevate the pivotal role of technology in entrepreneurial education. This generous gift reflects Metropoulos’ long-standing commitment to Babson and underscores the college’s commitment to innovation in the technology sector.

The C. Dean Metropoulos Institute for Entrepreneurship and Technology, which is expected to open in the fall, will build on Babson’s history of success preparing the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders to change the world. This groundbreaking institute will bolster Babson’s leading entrepreneurial education into the leadership ranks of technology and artificial intelligence.

The new institute will support and expand curricular and cocurricular programs that amplify the importance of technological innovation in the entrepreneurial process. Thought leadership initiatives will explore the critical need for guardrails when navigating the benefits and risks of emerging technologies and AI and their adoption in industry, medicine, and the environment. This focus will serve as the cornerstone of the Metropoulos Institute’s contribution through its emerging leaders.

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Long-time Wash Olin prof to head Chaifetz School of Business 

From St. Louis: St. Louis University officials announced Thursday that they have recruited a longtime Washington University professor to serve as dean of the business school.

Jackson Nickerson will begin in the new role on July 1. His academic background is in leadership and strategy. He will succeed Barnali Gupta, who has held the position since 2021.

“I am thrilled and honored to serve the Chaifetz School of Business, St. Louis University, and the St. Louis region, my home for 22 years,” Nickerson said in a statement.

Nickerson received a bachelor’s degree from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute and a master’s degree from the University of California Berkeley — both in mechanical engineering. Before pursuing a career in academia, Nickerson was a control systems engineer in NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He went on to receive an MBA from UC-Berkeley, and then a doctorate in business and public policy.

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Bryant University names new dean of College of Business: Northeastern’s Todd M. Alessandri

From Smithfield, Rhode Island: Bryant University has announced that Todd M. Alessandri, Ph.D. has been named dean of the College of Business. He joins Bryant from Northeastern University where he was associate dean of undergraduate education in the D’Amore-McKim School of Business. His first day as a Bulldog is July 22, 2024.

“Todd Alessandri has the vision and leadership skills Bryant needs to bring our College of Business into its bold new era,” says Bryant University President Ross Gittell, Ph.D. “We have ambitious plans for our College of Business and his strong background aligns with our Vision 2030 strategic priorities. We look forward to his leadership to help enhance our growing impact nationally and internationally.”

Alessandri enters Bryant at a crucial moment. In the fall, the College of Business moves into the 250,000 square foot Business Entrepreneurship Leadership Center. In addition to classrooms, the newly renovated state-of-the-art facility will feature lab spaces and centers, including the recently announced Hauck Sales Performance Lab and the Ellen Wilson Leadership Center. Other active learning and engagement hubs in the College of Business’ new home include an Entrepreneurship Center; AI, Data Science, and Digital Marketing labs; and a makerspace. These new initiatives will significantly strengthen experiential learning opportunities for Bryant students and bring regional, national, and international business leaders to campus to mentor these future business trailblazers.

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