Marquette’s 707 Hub hosts annual Brewed Ideas Challenge, April 28

April 24, 2023

Brewed Ideas Challenge logoMILWAUKEE — Marquette University’s Kohler Center for Entrepreneurship, Social Innovation Initiative and Milwaukee-based Brady Corporation will partner for the annual Brewed Ideas Challenge, which will be held virtually on Friday, April 28, from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m.

The Shark Tank-style student pitch competition awards $25,000 in seed money to first- and second-place winners on two tracks: social venture and traditional business. There will also be prizes for the Audience Choice, the Brady Innovation Award, Excellence in Inclusive Impact, and the Sodexo Student Startup Award, a new recognition this year.

Registration to watch the pitch competition in person at the 707 Hub is open to the public and available online. There will be a livestream available, and a link will be sent to registrants to watch the program virtually.

Ten finalists were chosen for the competition — they have been mentored by leaders at Brady Corporation and they participated in virtual workshops led by the 707 Hub leading up to the live pitch event. The finalists, in pitch order, include:

  • Drink On (Mary Schumar)
  • TuneConnect (Kieran McDonnell)
  • Intelligent Plant Pot (Danny Hudetz)
  • The GreyBand (Thomas Florian)
  • SOL PAD (Bruce Deal, JJ Mansour and Ben Doyle)
  • PASS [Pressure Alerting Seating System] (Jared Pilet)
  • Professional Development Fellowship (Alma Sandoval, Fatima Jimenez and Maria Tijerina)
  • Wudu You (Jack Killian and Leen Mortada)
  • Ball Different LLC (Bennett Barr)
  • Without Bounds MKE (Arianna Balton)

The competition will be judged by Brien Christopherson, vice president of research and development at Brady Corporation; Nicole Westenberger, vice president of marketing at Brady Corporation; Akin Owolabi, co-founder and chief technology officer at Cura; and Mehul Desai, founder and CEO at DeZai.

The Brewed Ideas Challenge is sponsored by the Brady Foundation and programmed by the 707 Hub, which houses the Kohler Center for Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation Initiative. This is the 10th year Marquette and Brady Corporation have partnered on pitch competitions. The program has awarded more than $185,000 during that time. Past winners include Community. Books. YOU., Marquette Career Closet, Nubian’s Way, Liv a Little Ice Cream, The Color of English, Sendgineering, and Complete Shaping.

The 707 Hub is Marquette University’s innovation incubator; a place where ideas are shared, stretched, challenged and realized. It is home to the Kohler Center for Entrepreneurship and the Social Innovation Initiative.

Brady Corporation is an international manufacturer and marketer of complete solutions that identify and protect people, products and places. Brady’s products help customers increase safety, security, productivity and performance, and include high-performance labels, signs, safety devices, printing systems and software. Founded in 1914, the company has a diverse customer base in electronics, telecommunications, manufacturing, electrical, construction, medical, aerospace and a variety of other industries.

About Marquette University

Marquette University is a Catholic, Jesuit university located near the heart of downtown Milwaukee that offers a comprehensive range of majors in 11 nationally and internationally recognized colleges and schools. Through the formation of hearts and minds, Marquette prepares our 11,100 undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and professional students to lead, excel and serve as agents of positive change. And, we deliver results. Ranked in the top 20% of national universities, Marquette is recognized for its undergraduate teaching, innovation and career preparation as the sixth-best university in the country for job placement. Our focus on student success and immersive, personalized learning experiences encourages students to think critically and engage with the world around them. When students graduate with a Marquette degree, they are truly prepared and called to Be The Difference.

About Kevin Conway

Kevin Conway

Kevin is the associate director for university communication in the Office of University Relations. Contact Kevin at (414) 288-4745 or