Assistant Director, Youth Programs, University of Delaware Horn Entrepreneurship
As children, Julie Frieswyk and her friends would pretend to be entrepreneurs. “I’ve always had a fascination with people who are able to put together an entity that other people buy into and believe in,” she says. Unsurprisingly, she pursued that early passion for business.
After studying international business in college, Frieswyk put it to the test when she enlisted in the Peace Corps, where she was assigned to the Eastern European country of Moldova. There, she worked with a nonprofit, training women—many of whom had been trafficked—for success in the next phase of life. Business incubators were a hot topic at the time, and partnering with another Peace Corps volunteer, Frieswyk conducted feasibility studies, ultimately connecting with the University of Delaware.
She helped launch a youth entrepreneurship competition, which later evolved into UD’s prestigious Diamond Challenge, run through Horn Entrepreneurship. Held annually, the Diamond Challenge today attracts 5,000 student applicants from around the globe. Students compete in business and social innovation tracks, which conclude with an on-campus semifinalist summit in April. “They’re just brilliant,” Frieswyk says. “They’re out there showing the world what they’re ready to build and create.”