Announcing the 2022 Jones Idea Challenge Winner!

March 7, 2022

On Friday, March 4, 2022, undergraduate students participating in the Jones Idea Challenge pitched their ‘intra-preneurial’ ideas to those in attendance including the 10 student teams, 12 coaches, 5 companies, and other students and community members that were a part of the entire process for this year’s JIC. Funded by the Herbert B. Jones Foundation, the Jones Idea Challenge program challenges undergraduate entrepreneurial-driven students to solve real company problems. Student teams work with a team business coach and compete for $5,000 in cash prizes. By the end of the program, the Jones Idea Challenge produces innovative student solutions for business problems. 

Congratulations to Joseph ‘JP’ Newmann (Team JP) for taking home the grand prize this year for his idea presented to Figurehead Brewing. 

JP was coached by Tim Sipiora (M.B.A, Albers’18 & HSBPC 2018 Finalist). Thank you for your professional guidance, Tim! 

Figurehead Brewing was founded in 2016 by Bob Monroe, Jesse Duncan, and Jesse Warner. Bob and Jesse Duncan have both been homebrewers for more than a decade. They first met in 2009 when they became neighbors and quickly learned they shared a similar passion for brewing beer and sharing it with friends. Casual discussions over homebrews about starting a brewery gradually grew more and more serious, and Figurehead Brewing was born. Bob met Jesse Warner during a leadership class in grad school and quickly became friends during trust falls and class retreats. They finally made use of those trust falls by joining up to start Figurehead Brewing. 

This year, the question they posed was “How do we develop a plan to invite everyone?” in regards to increasing diversity and inclusion to their company. 

Read more about JP’s solution in his interview below: 

  1. In one to two sentences, tell us about your solution.
  2. Describe the process of creating your solution and what you found to be valuable.

My solution was to create a craft beer, profits of which will fund a paid internship program for BIPOC and under-represented groups, breaking the barrier to entry to the craft beer industry. To do so, I secured a collaboration with a brewery in New York who has done something similar and was willing to support Figurehead in implementing this program. 

The process of creating my pitch was a valuable learning experience for me. Having the opportunity to collaborate with industry professionals, think entrepreneurially, and be in a space that encourages creativity and thoughtful solutions makes the JIC a fantastic competition for aspiring entrepreneurs. 

  1. Beyond the process of creating your solution, did you gain anything else from participating in the Jones Idea Challenge?
  2. What drew you to Figurehead Brewing Company?

Beyond the process, knowing that I am contributing to the diversity initiatives of a real company felt very rewarding. To create an idea that can be implemented in real life by real professionals is deeply fulfilling, and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity at SU to do so. 

I’ve been a fan of craft beer since I started living in Seattle, and I’ve always viewed breweries to be great spaces for community-building. So when Figurehead came to us saying that they wanted a plan to invite everyone, it just made sense to me to implement a diversity program in a space that naturally brings people together. 

  1. How did you work with your team coach and did you run into any issues?

Tim Sipiora, my team coach, was wonderful the whole way through. We met once a week for 30 minutes and discussed what was going through my head, bringing suggestions and critiques that I could use to refine any idea I had. During pitch week, we met three times simply so I could practice in front of a live audience. Tim’s very much an optimist, so when I had to pivot my solution he was very helpful in supporting me through all of the bumps in the road, providing suggestions along the way that helped guide both my mindset and solution idea. Thank you Tim! 

We would also like to thank the following companies for their participation in the Jones Idea Challenge: Altitude Beverage, Crimson Medical, Forji, Votegrity. 

See you all at the next JIC!