New Jersey has been known for innovation and ideas. It therefore comes as no surprise that two Garden State students have placed first and second at the local level of the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards, supported by event sponsor Withum.
GSEA is the annual global competition featured in the recent Disney+ documentary, “Own the Room.” Six finalist student entrepreneurs competed for the chance to win $7,500, as well as business mentoring and other resources from New Jersey Chapter of Entrepreneurs’ Organization members.
This year’s winner is Harrison Nastasi, founder of Bobica Bars. The Rowan University freshman created the world’s first superfood-glazed granola bars to provide a healthy grab-and-go snack that is high in nutritional benefits while being gluten free, dairy free and vegan. Nastasi will represent the Garden State at the North America GSEA competition — and, if successful there, will compete in the global competition against young entrepreneurs from around the world.
The runner-up was Sanya Majmudar, a New Jersey Institute of Technology sophomore who founded Medical Wonders, a nonprofit dedicated to educating and advising health care students around the globe about medical procedures, careers, discoveries and devices. The young entrepreneur started Medical Wonders while in high school and currently manages more than 300 volunteers worldwide. Majmudar received a monetary prize of $500.
All six finalists will receive access to EONJ events, where they can learn valuable business lessons and network with some of the state’s top entrepreneurs.
“Being a part of the GSEA and coming in first means the world to me,” Nastasi said. “I met so many like-minded entrepreneurs. This competition has been an amazing experience so far, and I can’t wait to see how far I’ll go.”
GSEA is the premier awards program for students who own or operate a business while attending college/university. Unlike pitch competitions, GSEA focuses on identifying students who exhibit the tenacious spirit of the entrepreneur. The judges — a panel of experienced entrepreneurs, business leaders and angel investors — used a rubric to help determine which student has shown the strongest capacity to navigate the chaos of starting a business and the deepest drive to succeed, all while completing a degree.
The additional student entrepreneur finalists who competed in the GSEA N.J. competition were: Nicoletta Ciccia (Centenary University) — founder of Nic’s Wicks, custom-made soy wax candles with inclusions of dried herbs, flowers, crystals and stones; Diana Rosado (Stevens Institute of Technology) — founder of Imagication, a company dedicated to expanding access to college tours through virtual, animated technology; Alex Simeon (Rutgers University) — founder of MoneyUP, a fintech app to help college students and Gen Z take control of their financial future; and Bryant Truong (Stevens Institute of Technology) — founder of Errant LLC, an e-commerce business that sells hard-to-obtain products.
Withum, a leading advisory and public accounting firm, served as the lead Event Sponsor for this year’s GSEA N.J. competition.
“Withum is a longstanding supporter of entrepreneurs and the next generation of business leaders,” Fatema Raza, partner at Withum and GSEA judge, said. “By giving back, we champion the leaders of tomorrow, help them create opportunities and sustain our thriving local business community.”