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School Of Communications

Ballard Center Student Wins National Business Ideation Competition

Emily Hooke Presents Winning Idea For Creating Cross-Generational Connection

Hooke was named the grand prize winner in Duke University's New Ideas competition. Photo courtesy of the Ballard Center.

Emily Hooke was recently named a grand prize winner in Duke University’s annual New Ideas competition. The competition invites undergraduates from across the nation to submit business ideas aimed at “[contributing] to civil discourse and reducing polarization in society.”

Hooke’s winning idea? A social platform designed to help connect nursing home residents with volunteers around the world in casual one-on-one remote conversations. Affectionately named Insta-Gramp, Hooke’s startup aims to address loneliness among this older cohort and to create opportunities for cross-generational connection and empathy.

As a grand prize winner, Hooke received an all-expenses paid trip to Duke and the opportunity to present her proposal alongside nine other winning ideas from across the country, as well as a scholarship toward a Duke MBA program in the future. In April, Hooke pitched her concept to a panel of accomplished Duke alumni.

“I’m a communications student with a minor in business, but I arguably lack some of the experience and know-how that many of my younger undergraduate colleagues do,” Hooke admits. “If you have an idea that you’re passionate about and you want to see positive change happen, there’s no reason you should feel limited from doing similar and greater things.”

Read the full Marriott School of Business article by Coleman Numbers here.