Entrepreneurs are one of the many driving forces behind innovation, and the Boston Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) are proof of this. This year, EO Boston has announced Dylan Zajac as the winner of the prestigious GSEA award on behalf of his organization, Computers 4 People, a non-profit that refurbishes laptops and makes them available for people who need them. Read on to find out who Dylan Zajac is, what the GSEA is all about, and how the winner emerged!
Picking a Winner: Tough Decisions
The journey to making this decision was not an easy one. As Kate Morgan said on LinkedIn, the entrepreneurs organization’s judging panel faced a challenging decision this year as they considered the inspiring work of two exceptional Boston entrepreneurs and finalists: Dylan Zajac and Johar Singh.
Although their companies, Computers 4 People and Astra Wellbeing, respectively, were so different from each other, these Boston entrepreneurs shared a common goal of doing amazing things for their communities.
Johar Singh's goal was to foster a culture where healthcare employees feel appreciated, recognized, and motivated daily through his venture, Astra Wellbeing. On the other hand, Dylan Zajac, who started his entrepreneurial journey in high school, focused on providing computers to individuals and organizations that need them.
By doing this, he intended to promote equity and access to opportunities, especially digital opportunities, to match the present times. Upon winning the GSEA competition, Dylan Zajac and his non-profit will now go on to represent Boston at the GSEA nationals in February. Congratulations are in order!
More Than Just a Pitch Competition
The GSEA, driven by a strong entrepreneur network, is a global competition for students who own and run businesses in college or university. Since starting in 2006, it has nurtured student entrepreneurs who have gone on to become change-makers in their local communities and internationally.
The competition emphasizes these entrepreneurs’ stories. Winning scores are heavily dependent on the individual (by a whopping 70%) and their entrepreneurial journey rather than solely on the startup ventures (which only account for 30%).
To be eligible for the GSEA, interested applicants must be currently enrolled in a college or university as an undergraduate or graduate student. Full-time enrollment is not a strict criterion, as part-time students' applications are also welcome.
However, all applicants must show that they are the driving force behind their business, either as the owner or co-founder. Then, only businesses that have existed for at least six months before the application and generated at least $500 or received $1000 in investments are eligible. This is just to show they have some commitment and experience.
All applicants must be below 30 to be eligible because the competition focuses on a young entrepreneur leadership network. Finally, previous applicants who got to the top seven positions in the GSEA Global Finals Competition are not eligible to compete again.
Background of GSEA: Empowering Student Entrepreneurs Globally
The GSEA program started at the Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business at Saint Louis University and soon expanded to include participants from Canada, the United States, and Mexico. In 2002, it evolved into the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards to reflect its new global scope.
Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) took over the program in 2006 to ensure its sustainability and growth. As part of the Boston entrepreneurs’ network, the GSEA mission is clear: to empower student entrepreneurs to become the world’s most influential change-makers. By providing mentorship, recognition, and connections, EO supports these young stars in taking their businesses to the next level of success.
Spotlight on Dylan Zajac and Computers 4 People
Dylan Zajac's journey with Computers 4 People is truly impressive because of how he started. With two initial facilities in New Jersey, the business is now expanding thanks to a grant of $650,000 from the state of Massachusetts.
With more facilities, Dylan can do more work and make a more meaningful impact. EO Boston will also provide him with support and opportunities within its network. Together, we can foresee a future where digital access will be more than a luxury thanks to the meaningful work Dylan and his team are doing.
Join GSEA Today
GSEA provides a platform for young entrepreneurs to grow and leverage a diverse entrepreneur leadership network. Competitions take place throughout the year and end with the GSEA Global Finals, with student entrepreneurs showcasing their businesses, receiving mentorship from Boston entrepreneurs, and making a lasting impact. You, too, can apply now for a chance to win $50,000!
For more on Dylan Zajac and his venture, tune into EO Boston’s Leadership in Action Podcast where we talk with the young changemaker behind Computers 4 People! And catch up on all other episodes here.