The Jacobson Global Venture Awards at The Lauder Institute

The Joseph H. Lauder Institute of Management and International Studies established the Jacobson Global Venture Awards in 2017 thanks to the generosity of Andrew Jacobson, WG’93, and Lauder alumna Marina Kunis Jacobson, G’93, WG’93. Venture Awards provide Lauder students with resources to focus their energies on their entrepreneurial venture during the summer.

Cash Award for Venture Development

The 2024 venture winners receive a $15,000 cash award. This financial support, coupled with the many other co-curricular opportunities at Penn, provides a strong foundation for students’ professional development as entrepreneurs. The Venture Award supports a student’s work over the summer in lieu of a full-time internship, allowing them to concentrate full-time on developing the venture. Dr. Sudev Sheth, Senior Lecturer and Faculty Lead for the Jacobson Awards says, “The Jacobson Global Venture Awards provide an unparalleled opportunity for Lauder students to unleash their creative spirit and entrepreneurial vision across industries and geographies. It offers young visionaries a chance to harness emerging technologies and leverage global networks to build sustainable businesses that will change the 21st century for the better.”




Megan Burton, Juhi Gupta

BrainFood is an enhanced sparkling water beverage that provides energy while also helping heal nutritional gaps that can affect concentration, low mood, and stress. BrainFood drinks, which are naturally flavored, low sugar, and zero caffeine, are thoughtfully designed using vitamins, minerals, and adaptogens that support better focus and motivation.

Megan Burton is a second-year MA/MBA student in Lauder’s Europe (French) Program. Prior to Lauder, Megan worked in management consulting, focusing on product transformation in wellness, beauty, and food. Megan earned a BS in biomedical engineering and an MA in genetics, while her co-founder, Juhi Gupta has an MD in psychiatry.

BrainFood plans to utilize the Jacobson money to fund the pilot and small-batch production of its beverages (including raw materials, co-packer costs, distribution, and marketing).

have a nice day


Bonnie Zhang

Have A Nice Day Pasta is a range of healthy and fun pasta sauces that offer alternative flavors to traditional tomato options like marinara and pomodoro. Have a Nice Day Pasta started with a beet & goat cheese sauce. Embracing culinary diversity, upcoming flavor lines will integrate spices and ingredients from various cultures, including gochujang, miso, soy, and turmeric, among others.

Bonnie Zhang, a second-year MA/MBA student in Lauder’s East and Southeast Asia (Mandarin) Program has a background in consulting. She plans to use the Jacobson prize money to sell her pasta sauce at farmer’s markets, find a co-packer, and conduct marketing and product development.

Loo Cycle 1 by1


Sidar Cem Alagoz, Edward Johnson, Franck Ouattara

With 250 million Africans lacking access to sanitary infrastructure, Loo Cycle, an impact-focused startup, aims to provide low-cost modular bathrooms in African townships. The economic feasibility of the business model lies in the conversion of human waste from these modular units into premium fertilizer, biochar, to be sold to agriculture buyers and governments.

Loo Cycle will use the Jacobson funding to purchase prototype modular bathrooms and commence trial operations in local African communities.

Sidar Cem Alagoz, Edward Johnson, and Franck Ouattara, are second-year MA/MBA students in the Africa-General program. The idea for Loo Cycle originated during their Lauder summer immersion in South Africa. Prior to Lauder, Sidar specialized in sustainability and circular economy consulting, Edward in investment banking, and Franck in economic research and finance at the IMF. Their global careers include extensive experience in African development projects.

Solace (2)


Mas Mohammadkhani, Mansi Raythatha

Solace offers a unique healthcare alternative exclusively for mental health patients with moderate to severe illnesses, providing customized treatment outside of emergency rooms. Addressing the problem of limited options during mental health crises, Solace aims to offer a safe haven by providing straight-to-home care, enabling patients to pass their episode while receiving support from trained mental health providers.Mas Mohammadkhani is a second-year MA/MBA student in Lauder’s Latin America (Spanish) Program. Prior to Lauder, Mas studied developmental and behavioral neuroscience, volunteered with mental health organizations, and worked for three years in data analytics. Mansi Raythaha is an MBA student at Harvard Business School with seven years prior experience at a global healthcare company.Solace will apply the Jacobson funding toward creating a functioning prototype for beta testing purposes, accessing clinical data sources, and incentivizing clinician input on broad-based surveys.

Our Judges

Special thanks to our 2024 Judges

Andra Ehrenkranz, G92, WG92
Danton Goei, G97, WG97
Stephan Jacob, G11, WG11
Allan Kwan, G87, WG87
Arikan Olguner, G01, WG01
Rosanna Ramos Velita, G92, WG92
Leeatt Rothschild, G10, WG10

Bart Swanson, G’89, WG’89Annie Wang, G’13, WG’13