Camp Staff, Career Seekers and Dairy Farmers to Benefit From Student Innovations

Jay Hurt Hub

The Jay Hurt Hub for Innovation & Entrepreneurship has announced four winners of the 2022 Avinger Impact Fund. Each student-led company received at least $5,000 to help move their work forward.

The businesses that came out on top this year focus on summer camp operations, career development, student empowerment and supply chain improvement for dairy farmers:

Constantine Desjardins ’24 is the founder of Direct Camp, a company dedicated to helping summer camps simplify their general operations by automating administrative processes using custom software. Having been significantly shaped by summer camps as a kid and working at camps growing up, Desjardins is passionate about making camp processes as easy as possible for staff members, so they can focus on prioritizing campers instead of stressing about scheduling. After taking a computer science course, Desjardins developed his idea and his software and is excited to improve the product and create an integrated software package that is aimed at improving camps everywhere.

Tasos Pagounas ’23 and Christos Korumpotis ’23 are international students with a goal to help people like them in their professional careers. Having traveled 5,000 miles from home to pursue opportunities unavailable in their home country, Pagounas and Korumpotis describe the problem they're trying to solve as “the hopelessness that lack of opportunity creates.” Their company, Rise Together, which also won the audience choice award at the Hurt Hub’s 2022 Nisbet Venture Fund Competition, unites young employees and employers, increasing equal opportunity for students and small business employers.

Heidi Meyer ’23 recognizes how difficult it can be to choose a career path, especially while navigating the overwhelming process of networking, filling out job applications and finishing a college degree. Meyer’s venture, Careers Explained, is a podcast that seeks to empower students by giving them insights into all types of careers. Working to increase her listener base and monetize her podcast, Meyer provides educational bite-sized content focused on helping students from all backgrounds optimize their job search process.

Lily Korir ’23 is from a rural community in Kenya and knows the ins and outs of small-scale farming. Korir’s venture, KK Dairy Solutions, seeks to solve the supply chain challenges many small farmers face by developing a holistic approach to set up a central entity where farmers can access quality and affordable dairy inputs. Through partnerships with 80 farmers and two operational stores, Korir is helping to create a lasting, sustainable solution for her community. With money from the Avinger Impact Fund, Korir’s venture will acquire and set up a pasteurizing facility to add value to milk before selling it to processing companies; recruit more farmers; and continue to expand marketing to improve the profitability of dairy farming.

Established in honor of Robert L. Avinger Jr., the Avinger Impact Fund fuels the vision, qualities and passions of innovators, giving evidence of creativity, energy and initiative that will lead to success in future endeavors. Through project-based grants, the Avinger Impact Fund awards up to $10,000 to Davidson entrepreneurs looking to validate and advance their ideas.