A business that connects Millennials and Gen Zs to job opportunities was the big winner at Grand Canyon University’s eighth annual Canyon Challenge on Wednesday.
The student-run business Ninjobi was selected by the judging panel as the top enterprise idea in the Colangelo College of Business entrepreneurial competition, taking home $5,000. Started by Areahna O’Rea, Ninjobi is a platform that enables millennials and Gen Z’s to connect with professional jobs while giving them flexibility, work-life balance and independence.
Ninjobi operates like a modern take on a temp agency. Users can input their qualifications, job requirements and duration of employment. Ninjobi will then match candidates to an employer and qualifying job position. The difference from other job searching platforms is the users are employed by Ninjobi. Once a client finds a job they are qualified for, they pick how long they would like to work there, so an employer is not blindsided when they leave. If the employee and employer agree it’s a good fit, they can arrange for a permanent placement.
O’Rea, a senior Finance and Economics major at GCU, says she is going to use the money for the website and marketing. She came up with the idea her freshman year and has been working on it since. “It was a lot to get to this point. We had to keep trying and getting feedback, speaking to professors and investors. That really got me ready for this,” she said.
Coming in second place and receiving $3,000 was GreatR Media, a digital marketing agency that helps businesses and entrepreneurs leverage social media to create and scale revenue. The business was started by Andrew Flowers and Connor Keene, both freshmen at GCU.
Taking third and receiving $2,000 was Trvo!, an app started by GCU alumni Malik Rivers that aims to make traveling for millennials more convenient by consolidating all the sites they might use to book a trip.
The other two businesses to compete were University Outlet, a campus-based selling app that would allow students to have a webstore and offer ridesharing, tutoring and even cleaning services, and Bills Bowls, a meal-convenience company that enables students to save money, eat better and waste less. The winners were picked by a team of judges consisting of prominent Valley businessmen Michael Hool, Mario Martinez and Dan Schultz.
This is GCU’s eighth year putting on the Canyon Challenge. The five finalists where picked from a group of 17 student businesses who pitched their ideas during CCOB’s weekly Shark Tanks. These weekly events give students the opportunity to get feedback about their business and how to move forward.