How a Cacao Sports Drink Might Be the Next Big Thing

Woman drinking sports drink

How do great inventions start? With a dream, of course.

But in the case of Georgetown University student Ayokunle Amoo, we’re not talking about the reach-for-the-stars-type, metaphorical dream. We mean the actual kind.

“One night—I honestly just went to sleep—and someone came up to approach me holding a chocolate beverage with the word ‘sports’ written on it,” said Amoo, a graduate student in the Sports Industry Management program at Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies. 

Ayokunle Amoo
Ayokunle Amoo, graduate division winner of the 2020 Georgetown Entrepreneurship Challenge.

The next morning, he began researching the health benefits of chocolate and, more specifically, the cacao plant, from which it is derived. In April he won First Place—and $10,000—in the Graduate Division of the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Challenge with his pitch for AMO Inc., a nutritious, cacao-based sports drink he is now developing.

“Once I started doing more research, I found out that chocolate had a lot of health benefits for athletes, but not just ordinary chocolate: dark chocolate and cacao,” said Amoo, who has been working with his sister on a formula that could take advantage of cacao’s wealth of antioxidants without the added sugar generally found in chocolate. 

A Community of Entrepreneurs

More than 120 students from 79 teams competed in the undergraduate and graduate division competitions. Winners were announced after the April 7 Finals, which also featured the 2020 presentations of the Georgetown Entrepreneurial Excellence Awards recognizing individuals who have contributed to the Georgetown Entrepreneurship community over the past year.

Among the six recipients was Katie Fischer, a student in Emergency & Disaster Management program, who won Graduate Student Entrepreneur of the Year. Fischer finished second overall in the graduate school division last year.

Amoo, whose family emigrated from Nigeria when he was a young child, has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a Master’s in Finance from Howard University. Passionate about basketball, he spent several years organizing tournaments in the area through a foundation that uses sports to create health awareness in communities.

Enrolling in Georgetown’s sports management program was a logical next step. He is expecting to graduate next December and a few months ago started a job as an account executive for the Washington Wizards.

A Team Effort

When Amoo heard about the Georgetown Entrepreneurship program, he knew he wanted to be part of it. It just took a dream, a lot of hard work, and some help from his sister to see that dream blossom.

“You know, faith has always been big in my household,” Amoo said. “And paying attention to the signs, especially when you’re longing for something—that’s something I’ve always believed in.”

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