Student John Saeteros and Team are Among Top Five Teams Worldwide, and the Only Student Team in the U.S., to Receive the Impactful Social Business Idea Award

Published: May 29, 2018

Queensborough's John Saeteros, a participant in the National Science Foundation CUNY Community College Innovation Challenge, was the only American college student to have been awarded one of five worldwide Impactful Social Business Idea Awards from the HEC Montreal Social Business Creation Competition.

John and his team of fellow students from Queensborough Community College were among the top five teams to receive the Impactful Social Business Idea Award worldwide. They were the only student team from the United States after the first round. John's winning business idea, Safe-Bit, is an electronic tracking bracelet to ensure security and improve health tracking for the elderly and children with special needs. Teams from Mexico, Canada and India rounded out the top five.

John's idea for his submission is a direct result of the training he received from the NSF CUNY Innovation Challenge program. John and his team participated in the fall 2017 program, which was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Capital One Bank. The program was originally spearheaded by Queensborough Community College and is now run in partnership with the CUNY Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research. Dr. Christine Mooney and Dr. John Blaho serve as the Co-PIs of the grant. John has also been mentored this past year by two Entrepreneurial Leads who are from the National I-Corps program, Ms. Virginia Trauth, University of Minnesota and Ms. Joseph Pugar, University of Pittsburgh. His chief mentors are Dr. Christine Mooney, Business and Professor Michael Lawrence, Engineering Technology.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1644664. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.Michael Lawrence, Professor, Engineering Technology and Queensborough Community College are members of their University Alliance.

The NSF CUNY Innovation Challenge program is supported by both mentorship and financial support from Capital One Bank. Two student Innovation teams from Queensborough, Safebit and Eagle-I, applied to the SAP HEC Montreal competition.



John, the son of immigrants from Ecuador, is the first in his family to attend college. He attended Jamaica High School in Queens and then enrolled at Queensborough in the fall of 2015 as a student in the College Discovery (CD) program, which provides eligible students with access to higher education and financial assistance to help them succeed in college.

The academic benefits and supportive services of the CD program prepared John to pursue his chosen major, Electronic Engineering Technology. This summer, John will be working with Jerry Sitbon, Chief Laboratory Technician, Engineering Technology, on a variety of projects, including computer systems for a range of computer courses.


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