2020 Virtual BEAR Innovation Recap

On April 26th, the U-Imagine Center for Integrative and Entrepreneurial Studies held the sixth annual BEAR Innovation Competition, gone VIRTUAL! 


The BEAR Innovation competition encourages students to consider the core questions; “What Should Matter to Me?” and “What Will I Do?” through an experiential learning process. It helps students to hone their written and oral communication skills and allows them to explore a topic of interest that they care about. This year, 8 teams (12 participants) qualified for the finals.  2020 Virtual BEAR Innovation

The 2020 Virtual BEAR Innovation Competition activities began in February and culminated in April, giving students the opportunity to work one on one with our Entrepreneur in Residence, Maureen Cumpstone. The U-Imagine Center hosted information sessions, virtual open hours, workshops and consultative appointments to prepare student teams for the competition. Due to the circumstances surrounding the global pandemic, the competition was transitioned into a virtual competition. The topics included and market analysis, financial viability, the perfect pitch, business proposal development, writing support and Intellectual Property consultation.


Congratulations to all of this year’s competitors and to the BEAR Innovation winners!
  • First Place - $3,500: “The Artist formerly known as Lucifer” — Tommy Armstrong (’20) - English
    • A tragicomedy film about art, depression, and the devil. In this film, the demon, Lucifer, possesses a young adult and experiences a barrage of human emotions such as nervousness and depression. Looking for the most human remedy to these feelings, he sets out to become an artist and experience life in a new tone.

  • Second Place - $2,500: “The Senator’s Daughter” — Julia Ewing (’21) - Applied Economics   
    • A unique event venue designed to become the town-anchor of Jefferson, Ohio by capturing the large tourism market that travels to the area annually. Through its wide-ranging business components, the Senator’s Daughter’s purpose is to provide optimal leisure and hospitality services for locals and visitors alike.

  • Third Place - $1,500: “Pactolus” — Athena Gainey (’20) - Media and Communications & Hijab Hiruy (’20) - Neuroscience
    • A social enterprise that looks to address recidivism by tackling the high unemployment rate of former convicts. Pactolus is committed to challenging the high rates of prison re-arrest and homelessness among this group while also seeking a change in the systematic oppression in the American criminal justice system. By offering resources and guidance in entrepreneurship and employment for released prison convicts, Pactolus hopes to combat the stigma that former convicts face.

  • Ready, Set, Go Price - $2,000:  “The Orchard” — Abbie Painter (’23) - Psychology
    • A performance coffeehouse to be hosted in the Ursinus Commons. Allowing for students and the community alike to enjoy entertainment and refreshments. The Orchard looks to engage the entire Collegeville community through the appreciation of art and local talent.

  • Best Oral Presentation - $500: “Argo” — David Schaeffer (’23) - Undecided
    • A mobile application that creates and organizes grocery shopping lists to avoid the stress one may face while shopping for their families. Argo looks to provide relief for the forgetful shopper through active planning and reminders.

  • “The Building Blocks”—  Christian Ndaye (’21) – Computer Science
    • A service that provides students interested in computer science with the opportunities to learn, mentor, and tutor through collaborations on group projects. By seeking advice from their peers, students will learn to work on projects in a professional manner. The program is directed toward both high school and college students. It creates personalized projects that facilitate independent and group growth to set them up for future success in computer science career paths.

  • “Augmented Reality” — Michael Anthony (’20) – Computer Science
    • Augmented Reality looks to change the routine language learning devices, and allow users to experience new languages in a fun and intuitive way. Using the concept of gamifying, the learning experience users will engage with their target language in a more natural way.
  • “BirdsEye” — Tamar El-Maghrabi (’21) - Mathematics & Josh Echevarria (’21) - Applied Economics & Pete Scuderi (’21) - Marine Science
    • A digital environmental activism network that connects individuals passionate about a global green economy. BirdsEye looks to raise awareness about climate issues that confront the world’s position on environmental sustainability, while providing unity among this goal. The program will connect existing groups as well as use their social media components to develop new global partnerships among organizations working toward the same common goals.


The BEAR Innovation Competition features student teams that develop and pitch ideas for new ventures that solve social or market problems to a panel of external judges. We would also like to thank the judges who gave generously of their time: Christopher Biddle ’85, Jen Cohen Crompton ’05 and Jonathan Gerhartz ’18.

This year’s competition drew students from across years and majors. There were 3 female contestants and 8 males. They included 2 freshmen, 6 juniors and 4 seniors. The majors represented included Computer Science, English, Psychology, Neuroscience, Applied Economics, Marine Science, and Mathematics. We are truly grateful for the unwavering support of Will Abele ’61, who through his gracious generosity, provides this engaging experience for Ursinus students.

First Place Winner, Tommy Armstrong, presenting his business plan