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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

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Chinyeh Hostler (second from right) and Cathy Pucher (right) of the ZIP Launchpad present the winning check to the founders of Parent Share. (SDSU) Chinyeh Hostler (second from right) and Cathy Pucher (right) of the ZIP Launchpad present the winning check to the founders of Parent Share. (SDSU)

Company Seeking to Help Student Parents Wins ZIP/Lavin Social Venture Challenge

SDSU student entrepreneurs showcase technologies designed to address social/environmental issues and compete for a $10,000 grand prize during the Chinyeh Hostler Social Venture Challenge.
By Suzanne Finch and Melinda Sevilla

Eight teams of entrepreneurs from San Diego State University demonstrated their ideas addressing social and environmental challenges during the inaugural Chinyeh Hostler Social Venture Challenge on April 26. 


The winning team of four undergraduate students and a company co-founder presented their business idea, Parent Share, as a co-working space for students and working parents which allows them to accompany and interact with their children during work and study hours. The students from the Fowler College of Business — Caitlin RadiganBarbara Carter and Aliyah Henderson Banks — biology graduate student Ana Castro and company co-founder Kim Whitlock delivered the winning presentation, as their children watched from the audience. 


The event, hosted by SDSU’s ZIP Launchpad and Lavin Entrepreneurship Center, was created to provide student entrepreneurs the opportunity to showcase their proposed solutions to current challenges while offering them the monetary resources to bring their ideas to the marketplace as a sustainable business venture. 


The challenge was named for businesswoman Chinyeh Hostler, an alumna of the Fowler College of Business. Her husband was the late Ambassador Charles W. Hostler, an SDSU adjunct professor of political science and namesake of SDSU’s Charles W. Hostler Institute on World Affairs.


The students and founders of Parent Share plan to open their first San Diego location in Mira Mesa on June 1, with plans to open additional locations later.  


“Parent Share was created by parents who have been, or currently are, students working their way through college to provide the best life and opportunities for their children,” said Radigan, one of the company’s co-founders. 


Second place was awarded to a two-woman team of engineering students consisting of joint doctoral program engineering student Lily Astete Vasquez and undergraduate students Polina Popova and Tasia Meyer for their Septic Mixer technology.


The team produced a patent-pending septic system sludge mixing device. For a small upfront expense, the device will save users of onsite sanitation systems several hundreds of dollars by extending the life of their septic systems. Team “Septic Mixer” said they plan to eventually commercialize their innovation.


“The product will improve sanitation for millions of septic tank users,” said Natalie Mladenov, civil engineering professor and director of the Water Innovation and Reuse Lab (WIRLab), where the team originated.


It was the second time the technology received recognition, having been awarded the third-place prize of $1500 in the UCSD Grad Slam competition, as well as the competition’s Women in STEM Award.