Jones Progress Awards

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The Jones Progress Awards are annual awards given to Seattle University students and recent alumni entrepreneurs that successfully meet key criteria and milestones within a 6-month period. The program involves the following components:

  • Each eligible business team goes through a rigorous application process to test its commitment, resources, and ability to take the new business to the next level.
  • Two business teams are selected and are each matched with a group of 4-5 expert business coaches (all local entrepreneurs, advisors, investors, and professionals).
  • Under the guidance of their coaches, the teams each craft 5-7 milestones (specific objectives, indicators, and measurements) that they will meet over the next six months - two required milestones are 12-month operations plans and 12-month financial projections.
  • Teams meet with their group of coaches in person monthly and are encouraged to connect directly with each coach on a regular basis over the six-month program (October 2019-March 2020) .
  • After the six-month coaching program concludes, the two teams will present their milestones and proof of completion to a panel of Judges, who will determine if the teams should receive the full $10,000 award, or some portion of the award if all milestones are not met.
  • Teams will have access to key Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center contacts and networks and will be supported in building these connections.


The Jones Progress Awards support graduating Seattle University students and new alums in ramping up their new businesses by providing a solid infrastructure of mentoring, grant funds, and connections within the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem.


The Herbert B. Jones Foundation has generously provided a grant to the Albers Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center (IEC) to offer two $10,000 awards per year to eligible student and alum teams.

The Jones Foundation's Mission Statement: "The Herbert B. Jones Foundation believes that entrepreneurism and small business are the backbone for the strength of our economic system. We promote this belief through the initial and temporary support of new business programs managed by post-secondary educational entities in the state of Washington. We desire the business community to be a vibrant and productive environment and the recipients of the Foundation's support to positively impact our greater business community."

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MD Solutions International (MDSI), led by Dr. Ann Jarris, LEMBA ’17, who won the 2017 Business Plan Competition for her business Discovery Health; MD Solutions International (MDSI) supports corporate public access defibrillation programs. MDSI assists companies develop programs to have defibrillators available, with well trained personnel, regulatory compliance and quality assurance programs. They currently have over 20,000 defibrillators deployed nationwide with clients such as Boeing and Caterpillar.

Actuate Media, led by Brad Holly, MBA ’16; Actuate Media is a data-driven and transparent digital marketing agency. While media companies run digital marketing campaigns with very little transparency, Actuate Media focuses on being a businesses’ digital marketing department (we are B2B).


The Madrone School, founded by Lindsey McGrew, MBA ‘17 and Grand Prize Winner in the 2016 SU Business Plan Competition; The Madrone School provides families with children affected by autism an alternative to the public school system in the greater Seattle area and offers an affordable and individualized approach using proven behavioral therapies.

Key Tech Labs, Founded by Andrew Powers, BA ‘12 and Adam Powers, BA '12, and winner of the Baylor Social Innovation Award in the 2016 SU Business Plan Competition; Key Tech Labs offers after school programs that teach a variety of S.T.R.E.A.M (Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts, Math) based activities to prepare youth for a variety of emerging careers.


Empower Your Neighbor (Cindy Pickreign, Maria Nassali, and Dave Brooks), won the $10K award for their nonprofit that helps women in Southern Uganda escape poverty and abusive partners by helping them achieve economic independence through breeding pigs.

Stempaths (Jon Madamba), an after-school STEM program for local communities and underserved youth to learn valuable technical skills and experiences for their futures, also won the $10K award.


WLD Works (Rene Wagner, Joe Darza, Quang Lam) won the $10K award for its web development business, which participated in the SU BPC several years ago.

React Mobile (Robb Monkman, MBA) won for their personal safety device company.


Ro Health and MadDawgs Hotdogs each received a $10,000 Jones Progress Award. Ro Health is a healthcare recruiting firm headed by Jeff Widmyer (SU MBA/JD alum), while Mad Dawgs is a local hot dog food cart business (founded by Daniel Dovinh (a recent SU alum/music major).


Amelia Marckworth

Amelia Marckworth

Interim Director

The Jones Progress Award was a six-month journey for Mad Dawg's Hot Dogs. I was mentored by four business leaders specifically chosen for me and our company's needs. In these monthly meetings, I began to mature from a business owner to a business leader with CEO qualities while our MDHD moved from being a cool small business to a focused, goal-oriented company.

Daniel Dovinh Mad Dawgs Hot Dogs Founder

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Application Requirements:

  1. At least one key executive must be a Seattle University student near graduation or an alum within five years of his/her graduation date, and be an active participant in the program. 
    • The key executive can be a student or alum from any Seattle University program across campus (not just Albers).
    • The key executive does not need to have gone through the annual business plan competition.
    • The key executive must complete a comprehensive intake assessment & interview with the Jones Progress Award’s steering committee.
    • The key executive and team must be coachable and willing to commit to the full program.  All meetings must be attended, without exception.
  2. At least one of the founding team members must be fully-dedicated and working full-time on the business (i.e. it is more than a “hobby”). 
  3. The company’s team must be committed to going to the next growth stage.
  4. The company must have a legal structure already in place.
    • Though the company must have a legal structure, it can by any structure: a traditional for-profit business, a nonprofit organization, a social venture, etc. 
  5. Its product/service offering is past the proof of concept and prototype phases (beta or beyond).
  6. The company already has the needed resources to move to the next milestone and at least basic seed funding from owners, friends, or family.
  7. It is generating some revenues and/or has clients/traction.