Rachel Zietz won a chance to compete against fellow student entrepreneurs from across the nation. Photo courtesy of Entrepreneurs’ Organization.

A 19-year-old sports equipment retail company CEO won the Long Island qualifying round of the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA), earning a chance to compete at the national competition next year. 

Rachel Zietz, a Princeton University sophomore from Florida who founded Gladiator Lacrosse at age 13, took home a $1,000 check on Dec. 9 and a chance to compete against more than 30 other student entrepreneurs during the national finals in California in February. The national finals winner represents the U.S. at the global finals in Macao.

“We believe that entrepreneurs can change the world,” said Steve Distante, president of the LI chapter of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), which runs the GSEA. “EO GSEA allows us to identify student entrepreneurs who can make a difference.” 

The EO, billed as the world’s leading peer-to-peer network of successful business owners, organized the event in partnership with City National Bank. It was held at Hofstra University’s Frank G. Zarb School of Business in Hempstead.

The GSEA honors students younger than 30 who own or operate a business for at least six months while attending college or university. It provides students an opportunity to learn from fellow entrepreneurs and form lasting relationships with both students and prominent entrepreneur judges. Over the years, participating students have gone on to expand and build businesses, create thousands of jobs and generate millions in revenue. 

LI’s winner, Zietz — whose company has $2 million in annual revenue — was named to Forbes 30 Under 30 List for 2020, Time Magazine Most Influential Teens of 2016, and previously appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank. Placing second was New York University student Asher Varon, who owns Quik Reversal, which is developing an anti-drug overdose patch. And winning third place was Stony Brook University student Orville Davis, who founded Scrap-It, an environmentally friendly waste hauler connection service.

“The GSEA contest is different than most entrepreneurial contest because our emphasis is on the entrepreneur and not the business,” said Distante, who is also chairman and founder of the Vanderbilt Financial Group. “We are looking for young entrepreneurs with potential that we can assist and promote.”

Long Island entrepreneurs looking to join EO-Long Island. can email hello@eolongisland.org.

 

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