Ten Finalists named in Tufts' $100K Business Plan and Social Entrepreneurship Competitions at The Gordon Institute

Finalists include plans to provide solar power to urban areas in Pakistan; manufacture a low-noise hair dryer, and develop a rickshaw rental company in Tunisia

MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE, Mass. – During a visit to his native home in New Delhi two years ago, Tufts student Karan Randhawa was struck by how workers riding bicycles and motor bikes were getting soaked in torrential rainstorms that are typical during monsoon season.

He contemplated not-yet-invented solutions and later brainstormed with classmates from his entrepreneurial leadership class at Tufts' Gordon Institute. They came up with an idea: a low-cost, detachable canopy that can be pulled over motorcycles and bicycles to protect up to two riders from soaking rain. The team of budding entrepreneurs formed a start-cup company, named Roof For Two.

"Most people in India can’t afford cars, and many rely on motorcycles for transportation during the rainy season so they get soaked," explains Randhawa, who graduated from Tufts last year. "We saw this as a practical option."

The team's invention was promising enough to win first place in Tufts' $100K business plan competition last year. It later finished as a finalist in the MassChallenge, the Boston-based nonprofit that offers up to $1 million in prizes to promising start-ups. Roof For Two is currently developing prototypes for testing in India. It is also seeking start-up investment with hopes of bringing the invention to the market in May 2013.

On April 4, ten finalists in Tufts' eighth annual business plan competition – all hoping to replicate Roof For Two's success – will present their plans to judges on the university's Medford/Somerville campus. Five teams are competing in the Classic Business Plan Competition and five are competing in the Social Entrepreneurship Competition.

Winning teams will be awarded $100,000 in cash and in-kind services in each competition. Corporate sponsors for the competition include: Allied Minds, The Capital Network (TCN), Constantine Ventures, Cummings Properties, Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corporation,Lowenstein Sandler Attorneys, Nutter, McClennen & Fish, Seltzer Design, and Skadden, Arps, Slate and Meagher & Flom.

Coordinated through the entrepreneurial leadership center at Tufts University's Gordon Institute, the business plan competition includes students from schools across the university and alumni.

The finalists in the Classic Business Plan Competition are:

Mindscape, presented by Tufts sophomore Brandon Cohn and David Conway, who is not a Tufts student – Emotions Management proposes creating a computer program for mental health therapy.

Oregon Room, presented by Tufts graduate Rezwan Khan and Michael Kuo, who is not a Tufts student – Oregon Room proposes to create an internet retail company that specializes in helping men find and purchase stylish clothes based on their individual preferences, lifestyles and current fashion trends.

Powderhouse Solutions -Whisper, presented by Gordon Institute graduate students Jeremy Jo, Rachel Pratt, Scott Rioux and David Tse – Powderhouse Solutions plans to use automotive and aerospace technologies to design a hairdryer that produces 40 percent less noise than conventional hair dryers.

Price-Track, presented by Tufts juniors Adrienne N. Dreyfus and Albert C. Nichols – Price-Hack will create a service that allows users to track the price of clothing items on the Internet. The service will alert consumers when the item reaches a desired price.

 YES.OUI.SI. Emerging Contemporary Online Art Auction, presented by Olivia Ives-Flores, graduate of Tufts and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts along with Miguel de Braganza, who is not affiliated with Tufts. – YES.OUI.SI proposes a member-based online network that hosts art auctions, sells art merchandise and creates opportunities for local artists by connecting them to international markets.

Finalists in the Social Entrepreneurship Competition are:

Broad Peak Energy Solutions, presented by Fletcher School students Jonathan Torn and Ahmed Malik – Broad Peak plans to introduce low-cost, user-friendly solar power as a backup energy source in urban areas of Pakistan that suffer from power shortages. The company will achieve this by retro-fitting energy backup systems that are currently used in households and small businesses for computers, telecommunication and electrical equipment.

Essmart, presented by Fletcher School student Jaya Movva with Diana Jue, Jackie Stenson, Orashanth Venkataramana and Lisa Lim, who are not students at Tufts –Essmart plans to bridge knowledge, distribution and service gaps by making vital products available to underserved communities in developing countries. Local sales agents will build rural distribution networks through local stores. The team plans to start their operations in India.

Ghazalah, presented by Fletcher School students Shashank Pasrija, Ravi Kaneriya, and Amogh Basavaraj along with Laura Thompson and Dominik Tribone, who are not Tufts students – Ghazalah proposes to create a service that maintains and rents rickshaws to drivers in Tunis, Tunisia, who will operate the vehicles and make profit on earnings in excess of the rental fee and fuel expenses. By doing this, Ghazalah intends to make comfortable, low-cost transportation available to working-class Tunisians.

Keepin’ Tabs, presented by Tufts senior Hillary Sieber – Keepin' Tabs proposes a web-based communications and management tool on a streamlined tablet interface that facilitates multimedia communication between seniors and their families. Designed with elder care needs in mind, Keepin’ Tabs will allow seniors to manage their schedules, browse the web securely, and chat with family members.

 Root to Fruit, presented by Tufts School of Engineering senior student Carolyn Pace – Root to Fruit proposes to create a wholesale produce business. The start-up has two goals — to support local farmers and increase assess to organic, locally grown food for the whole community.




Tufts University, located on three Massachusetts campuses in Boston, Medford/Somerville, and Grafton, and in Talloires, France, is recognized among the premier research universities in the United States. Tufts enjoys a global reputation for academic excellence and for the preparation of students as leaders in a wide range of professions. A growing number of innovative teaching and research initiatives span all Tufts campuses, and collaboration among the faculty and students in the undergraduate, graduate and professional programs across the university's eight schools is widely encouraged.


Back to Top