Rothman Institute hosts 14th annual NJ Business Idea Competition Awards

rothman12324Above: New Jersey high school student winners of the Rothman Institute's annual Business Idea Competition. (Photos courtesy of Timur Pakay)

By Timur Pakay

April 18 — Recently, Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Rothman Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship hosted its 14th annual New Jersey Business Idea Competition Awards Ceremony and Female Entrepreneur Lecture at the Florham Campus.

The competition is open each year to high school students from New Jersey who submit their best and brightest business ideas in hopes of winning cash prizes and statewide recognition. This year, the Institute received submissions from 682 students and a total of 36 student team winners were selected after three rounds of judging.

The evening honored student winners for ideas that were innovative and socially impactful and awarded three regional winners with a $250 cash prize and a full scholarship to the Rothman Institute’s Discover Business and Foreign Language Teen Camp that takes places this summer at the Florham Campus. The regional winners were Nicolas Villamil of Cherokee High School, Niva Patel of Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School, and James Luo of Bergen County Academies.

rothman123242Above, left to right: Ron West, professor of taxation and accounting; Tracey Early, Rothman Institute's Female Entrepreneur of the Year and co-founder of Untracht Early; Timur Pakay, executive director of the Rothman Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship; and James Almeida, associate dean of the Silberman College of Business.

Following the awards ceremony, Tracey Early was the keynote speaker of this year’s Female Entrepreneur Lecture. Early is the managing principal and co-founder of Untracht Early LLC, an accounting firm in Florham Park. Early shared her story of becoming an entrepreneur while also raising her child to inspire the student winners. Professor Ron West, chair of the accounting, taxation, and law department was the moderator for the discussion.

The event was generously sponsored by the TD Charitable Foundation, Citrin Cooperman, New Jersey Tech Council, DK Entrepreneur Academy and the New York Jets.

Part of FDU’s Silberman College of Business since 1989, the mission of the Rothman Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship is to teach and support entrepreneurship and innovation in the academic, business and nonprofit communities. For more information, go to