Glendale Community College student-entrepreneurs win awards for business ideas.

Monday, March 21, 2022
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Three Glendale Community College students won a total of $5,000 in prize money at the GCC Innovation Challenge, held on February 17th. This is the third consecutive year that GCC has held this competition, which is open to GCC student-entrepreneurs to pitch their business or product ideas. Credit Union West, a long-standing partner and supporter of this event, has sponsored the cash prizes for the Innovation Challenge three years in a row.

These three students won for their business ideas at the final competition at the Innovation Challenge. 

  • Sophia Acosta, the first-place winner, won $2500 for her pitch for a financial app idea, “Finance Friend”. The app is geared towards high school and college students as an educational resource and money management tool to learn good money habits and strategies and limit higher education debt.
  • The second-place winner, Carson Roubison, won $1500 for his non-profit idea called “Kindness Through Your Lens” which will give elementary school children a creative outlet as storytelling through photography.
  • The third-place winner, Megan Bonno, has already started her business, Designs from Threads, which is an embroidery shop specializing in uniforms and custom designs for businesses and customers. She is a minority-owned business whose mission is to offer people with autism a great place to work as well as be an advocate for equal pay for people with disabilities.

The judging panel for the final competition included: Ning Duong, SVP, Chief Operating Officer at Credit Union West, Kelli List Wells, owner of Charley’s Sports Grill and Education Committee member for the Glendale Chamber of Commerce, Yolanda Facio, Small Business Development Center advisor and Small Business adjunct faculty at GCC and Brent Kleinman, GCC Business Communication Faculty at GCC. A special thanks to the faculty members who made this event possible: Dr. Gabriela Cojanu, founder of the GCC Innovation Challenge student pitching competition and Small Business Management and Entrepreneurial Studies GCC faculty, and faculty members: Heather Merrill, Brent Kleinman, Rachelle Hall, Kendra Swenson, Janet Brooks and Yoland Facio. 

Learn about entrepreneurship education and funding opportunities at To support student entrepreneurs through grants and events such as the Innovation Challenge, donate to the GCC Achieve fund by visiting and selecting “GCC Achieve Fund GC #4513-1” in the Designation dropdown.

Glendale Community College provides 41 Associates degrees, 61 certificate programs, and a range of non-degree offerings, all available to students in traditional, online and hybrid formats.

Founded in 1965 to serve the northwestern part of the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, the college is part of the Maricopa County Community Colleges District, has two campuses and enrolls approximately 26,000 students annually, and employs approximately 1,000 resident faculty, staff, and administrators with an operational budget of $83 million.