Duke I&E

The Dean Yep Jr. Memorial Prize

Published: 3 weeks ago | 0 comments

This year a new prize will be awarded as part of the annual Duke Startup Challenge. The Dean Yep, Jr. Memorial Prize will honor Dean Yep, Jr., a beloved member of the Fuqua School of Business Class of 2012, who passed away in 2016. A fervent participant in the Duke Startup Challenge, Dean believed in entrepreneurship’s ability to diminish geographic and social boundaries. He embraced the Team Fuqua culture, and his intensity and tenacity inspired and empowered everyone around him to thrive in all aspects of their lives, inspiring everyone around him to be better.

Dean Yep, Jr.

The Dean Yep, Jr. Prize will recognize the achievements of a Startup Challenge team that through its members embodies Dean’s values, characteristics, and spirit as determined by Duke Startup Challenge judges. (http://www.dukestartupchallenge.org/#prizes)

“Dean’s selfless attitude, kindness, loyalty, commitment, and passion for life will always be missed. We are so thankful and humbled that this prize will keep the memory of our beloved son and brother alive forever,” said the Yep family on the second anniversary of Dean’s unexpected passing.  “Dean always encouraged those he knew to strive for their maximum potential, so it seems fitting that this prize will enable a deserving team to go further with their vision.”

The first ever Dean Yep, Jr. prize will be awarded to GOLeafe this year. GOLeafe is a Durham based startup that has developed a patent-pending and low cost manufacturing process to produce ‘Graphene’, currently one of the most expensive materials on earth under current production methods. Imagine solar panels that can generate energy 24 hours a day and picture an energy storage solution that outcompetes lithium ion batteries in cost, storage capacity, charging speed, weight, lifespan, and safety; nanomaterial Graphene makes it possible. Graphene is 1000 times lighter than paper and 200 times stronger than structural steel. GOLeafe has introduced a scalable batch process to produce Graphene that is 10x cheaper than the competition, while keeping it very eco-friendly by removing most of the harsh chemicals used in competing methods.

Arsheen Allam, CEO of GOLeafe

GOLeafe’s founder and CEO is Arsheen Allam, who previously co-founded CNanoz, an innovator in developing nano-technology based water purification systems. At CNanoz, Arsheen developed an interest in Graphene that eventually resulted in the launch of GOLeafe. Arsheen has a Bachelor’s degree in Materials Science and Engineering, as well as a Master’s degree in Global Innovation Management from NC State University, and an MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.

Arsheen and GOLeafe have demonstrated remarkable technical expertise, perseverance and entrepreneurial skills to develop the innovative technology for low cost Graphene production and are the deserving winners of the Dean Yep Jr. memorial prize.

This year’s prize amount is $2,000. Higher amounts are anticipated in future years as the endowment fund that supports the Dean Yep Jr. memorial prize nears the goal of being fully funded.  “Thanks to the fund, we expect these cash prizes to be distributed in perpetuity, empowering the next generation of entrepreneurs and honoring Dean’s love for Duke”, said Aju Joseph John, Dean’s friend from Duke Fuqua School of Business and one of the prize administrators.

To learn more about the Duke Startup Challenge, visit http://www.dukestartupchallenge.org.

 

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