NC State Senior Ryan O’Donnell has had a busy semester.

It began with a partnership between his startup nonprofit Pennies 4 Progress and San Francisco-based GoodLabs to let customers of 6,000 merchants around the nation round up their bills to provide donations to any of 60,000 schools. Pennies 4 Progress earned a grant earlier this year from NC State’s Institute for Emerging Issues to build a technology platform to allow the transactions to happen. It was then named a finalist in United Way’s Social Innovation Challenge, earning a spot in a five-week accelerator in Durham. 

When O’Donnell and two co-founders learned of GoodLabs’ point-of-sale donation technology and relationships with thousands of merchants, they inked a deal to develop a Charity Checkout app with the company.

At the same time, O’Donnell and mentor Jeff Stocks formalized plans for a for-profit startup called EMPLOYUS and won one of seven spots in the Citrix Accelerator’s new Raleigh Innovators Program. They set to work building a way for employers to post open jobs and anyone to refer their friends or colleagues to fill the positions. The winner referral takes home a hefty cash prize. 

The plan and the founders were compelling enough to win one of five NC IDEA grants this week. O’Donnell says those funds will be used to add more features to the site, which already lists 26 available positions from local tech employers. More than $50,000 in referral prizes are up for grabs.

For more details, read the full story at ExitEvent.

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