TOYOTA NORTH AMERICA AND THE LEONIDAS FOUNDATION AWARD $7,500 IN COLLEGIATESCHOLARSHIPS TO L.E.O. PROGRAM SENIORS AT MOUNT ST. DOMINIC ACADEMY IN“LIONWORKS” ENTREPRENEURSHIP COMPETITION
Inaugural Shark Tank-Style Competition at MSDA Celebrates Young Women in Business
February 17, 2021 (Caldwell, NJ) – The Leonidas Foundation and Mount St. Dominic Academy, the Catholic, independent college prep school for girls in Caldwell, is proud to announce that Toyota North America and The Leonidas Foundation have awarded $7,500 in collegiate scholarships, to “College: Unlocked,” a team of four Mount seniors, and winners of the inaugural L.E.O. “LionWorks” Entrepreneurship Competition at the Mount.
On Tuesday evening, February 16, seventeen senior students in the L.E.O. Program’s first cohort at the Mount competed in a team-style competition in the spirit of “Shark Tank.” The four teams presented their start-up projects, developed over the course of the previous three and a half semesters, to a panel of “Sharks.” The “LionWorks” competition represents a highlight of the two-year intensive course, which encompasses the full life cycle of creating a business or product from ideation to launch, with the focus on leadership, entrepreneurship, and opportunities. The Leonidas Foundation proudly sponsors and supports the L.E.O. Program at the Mount.
The products presented by the students and considered by the “Sharks” were:
At the conclusion of the competition, which featured 10-minute presentations by each of the four teams, followed by 10 minutes of judges’ Q&A for each team, the “Sharks” selected “College: Unlocked” as the winner. The four members of the team will share the first place prize of $5,000 in scholarships sponsored by Toyota North America. Inspired by the hard work and entrepreneurial spirit of these 17 Mount students, an anonymous Mount alumna along with The Leonidas Foundation, has sponsored the second prize award of $2,500 in collegiate scholarships, which was awarded to team “D1 Heat.”
“Watching the young women of the Mount compete in their first ever L.E.O. “LionWorks” Entrepreneurial Competition was thrilling for everyone involved in the creation of The L.E.O. Program,” said Matthew Perricone, president of the Leonidas Foundation. “We are so proud of the work they’ve done, and can’t wait to keep an eye on these young entrepreneurs as they apply their leadership and entrepreneurial spirit to their endeavors in college and beyond.”
“Today’s Mount students are the change-makers of tomorrow, and empowering them with the skills and self-confidence they’ll need to challenge the status quo and strive for the C-suite is something we take very seriously,” noted Christine Victori, director of the L.E.O. Program at the Mount. “These 17 young women have embraced the opportunities provided by the L.E.O. Program, and the time, effort and passion they’ve devoted to their work, and to each other, has
been incredibly rewarding.”
The leadership of The Leonidas Foundation and Mount St. Dominic Academy are grateful for the generous support of Toyota North America, and the company’s commitment to fostering future generations of women business leaders.
“Watching the students present their businesses, I knew I was witnessing just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what these young female leaders are capable of,” said Ms. Briana Nelson, general manager of Toyota North America who served as a “shark” for the event. “As a champion of women in the workforce, partnering with the Mount and the Leonidas Foundation on behalf of Toyota North America to provide tomorrow’s female business leaders with this unique opportunity has been so exciting.”
For more information about the L.E.O. Program, the “LionWorks” Entrepreneur Competition, and other innovative programs for young women offered by the Mount, visit www.msdacademy.org.
About Mount St. Dominic Academy
Mount St. Dominic Academy, established by the Sisters of St. Dominic in Caldwell, New Jersey, is a Catholic, independent college preparatory school, dedicated to the education of young women from a variety of ethnic, religious and economic backgrounds. The Mount has been empowering young women in the Dominican tradition since 1892. Visit www.msdacademy.org to learn more.
About The Leonidas Foundation
The Leonidas Foundation was formed in 2016 in memory of Montville resident Leonidas “Leo” Vagias, an avid learner with a passion for giving back to those in need. Focusing on helping young men and women succeed through educational programs, the Foundation has dedicated much of their efforts to assisting those in need in Leo’s honor. For more on The Leonidas Foundation, please visit www.leouniteus.org.