By: Lexie Newhouse
Last Thursday evening was packed with pitches from our ENI 3101 student entrepreneurs! Five teams competed for the grand prize of $1,500 to support their proposed startups in the H.J. Russell Center for Entrepreneurship Business Model Competition.
This semester’s competition was evaluated by three accomplished judges: Ron Levac, Senior Vice President of InReality, Kelli Kelly, Founder and CEO of Kelley Brand Communications, and Lawrence Chen, Founder and President of SALT Studios.
From the entrepreneurial “pitch” to the musical “pitch,” INDiEPENDENT started the competition on a high note, literally! Ciara Brown, Samantha Ingram, Sophia Morekis, Julian Neal, Kaija Pack, and Blake Rios opened with Pharrell Williams’s song “Happy” before diving into their business concept, a music platform that connects formerly failed artists with avid music consumers through music discovery.
Esha Patel, Anna Rantala, Sarah Renner, Maryam Shambayati, PJ Topiwala, and John Yeo followed that with The Campus Carrot Café, a restaurant looking to provide healthy, grab-n-go food options on campus for students. One competitive advantage they highlighted was their hours of operations to accommodate those late-night cravings, where most restaurants on campus close by 6 pm. They even presented the judges with appetizer samples!
The Charity Marketplace was the third pitch, an online social database service devoted to connecting nascent charities to a network of volunteers, donors, and solutions. This business was pitched by Tamara Jones, Doreen Kincaid, and Sabrina Lim.
NCEG, otherwise known as the National Collegiate Entertainment Group, was fourth to pitch. Derek Jackson, Thomas Jackson, Denzel Banks, and Jude Baquet shared their business model as a national nonprofit committed to dissolving the barriers of entry to the entertainment industry.
Anna Cody, Lamar Long, Shema Meghoo, and Megan Summers closed the evening with PantherCloset, a professional attire solution for job-hunting students. In an effort to support Georgia State students, their startup focuses on supplying inexpensive suits and styling options across Georgia State’s campuses.
After much the debate, the judges finally reached a consensus. The Campus Carrot Café placed first with the $1,500 grand prize, The Charity Marketplace won second with the $1,000 prize, and NCEG took home the Audience’s Choice award. To PantherCloset’s surprise, ENI faculty coordinated across campus to secure funding to help establish this professional resource on campus for students.
Stay tuned for future Georgia State, ENI, and HJRCE events showcasing panthers that pitch!