For Alumni, B.E.T.A. a Chance to Win Big and Give Back

James Cantoni ’17, co-founder of PerkZilla, the 2019 alumni challenge winner.

For a Babson entrepreneur, competing in the Blank Center for Entrepreneurship’s B.E.T.A. Challenge is transformational. The chance to win $20,000 is deeply motivating, no matter the stage of your startup journey.

Notably, the B.E.T.A. Challenge cuts across divides. It is an opportunity open to all Babson alumni, graduate, and undergraduate entrepreneurs.

In recent years, Enrico Palmerino ’11, CEO and founder of botkeeper, Daniel Dalet ’03, founder of Clarke’s Organics, and James Cantoni ’17, co-founder of PerkZilla, have taken home the alumni grand prize.

But, the B.E.T.A. Challenge isn’t just a meaningful opportunity for Babson alumni. It owes a great deal to alumni, too.

Alumni Give Back

The impact of Babson’s alumni network can be seen and felt in many ways throughout the duration of the competition. Over 130 Babson alumni volunteer every year to evaluate B.E.T.A. Challenge applications and to help determine the semifinalists.

Each year, a number of alumni judge at the semifinal and finale events. This year was no exception. When the B.E.TA. Challenge Venture Expo made a major change and went online, the Babson Alumni Association (BAA) supported the pivot and lent an extra hand.

James Cantoni ’17 (center) celebrates with Babson Alumni Association Vice President Patrick Baird ’11 and Blank Center Executive Director Debi Kleiman.

BAA Director Terri Monjar MBA’96 helped to plan the new virtual format. Alumni  jumped in, logging onto WebEx to participate as judges, listen to the pitches, and ask the semifinalists questions. BAA Vice President Patrick Baird ’11 took on a brand new role, virtually emceeing the alumni competition.

At the upcoming finale on April 16, the $20,000 grand prize for the alumni track will be made possible thanks to longtime sponsor BAA.


Hear Babson’s top student and alumni entrepreneurs present their ventures for their chance to win $20,000 in cash for their business at the 2020 B.E.T.A. Challenge finale on April 16. Register »


For the BAA, sponsoring the B.E.T.A. Challenge is an incredible way to both connect with and support fellow alumni, and to reach students who will join Babson’s network. BAA President Alexandra Piccirilli ’94, who also has served as an evaluator for many years, believes the B.E.T.A. Challenge exemplifies Babson’s entrepreneurial spirit.

Seeing where Babson entrepreneurs go and how they grow since competing gives Piccirilli a deep sense of Babson pride. When she comes across a past competitor—she names Think Board, DART Drones, and Detrapel as examples—she thinks, “Hey, I remember that business!”

Another source of pride: Piccirilli is impressed by and grateful for the ethos of giving back. Those who compete in the B.E.T.A. Challenge remain deeply engaged with Babson’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, coming back to campus, volunteering, and mentoring the next generation. And, in this way, the B.E.T.A. Challenge continues to support and be supported by the Babson community.

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