Business Pitch 2016 highlights student creativity and innovation

Yash Patel

Cal State LA students displayed their creative instincts and entrepreneurial spirit during the finals of the Business Pitch 2016.

Seven semi-final teams pitched their ideas to a panel of five judges. The April 11 event was the culmination of a rigorous five-week process in which teams were trained in developing ideas and formulating business pitches under a program coordinated by the College of Business and Economics and Entrepreneur in Residence Barney Santos, a Cal State LA alumnus.

The teams competed for cash and office space at IndieDesk, a hub for tech, creative and freelance entrepreneurs.

First place went to Atit Patel, Yash Patel, Harsh Patel and Kevin Shaw for “Pay ‘N Park,” a web application to help drivers find parking spots. Team members hope their application will solve major parking problems in large cities in India by helping drivers find open spaces and enabling property owners to rent parking spaces for extra cash. They won $3,000 and two months at IndieDesk.

Second place went to “Cropsticks,” chopsticks with an eco-friendly twist. The team took home $2,000 and one month at IndieDesk. Team members Mylen Fe Yamamoto, Jay Chang, Shannon Takeba and Ron Tansingco created a patent-pending disposable chopstick made entirely from sustainable bamboo with a holder attached to keep the tips from touching the table.

Andrew Aquino, Kevin Mowers and Christian Noble won third place with “Drew’s List,” a mobile app to help students buy, sell, and trade their textbooks.  They earned $1,000 and a week at IndieDesk. 

“This year’s crop of students really pushed the limits of what they could do in a short period of time,” Santos said. “The event was like a pressure cooker that resulted in viable enterprises that were beyond our expectations.”

The event was supported by Dean James A. Goodrich, Associate Dean Edward Hsieh, several members of the college staff and ECCO, the entrepreneurship student organization in the college.  The event sponsors were Ace Fence Co., AT&T, Boeing, City National Bank, DelTerra, EDG, IndieDesk, So Cal Gas, Nongshim, and the Los Angeles Chapter of the SBDC.

Photo: Yash Patel and his team won first place during the recent Business Pitch 2016. (Credit: Edward Kitaoka/Cal State LA)

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Cal State LA is a university dedicated to engagement, service, and the public good. Founded in 1947, the University serves more than 27,000 students and 240,000 distinguished alumni, who are as diverse as the city we serve. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, Cal State LA has long been recognized as an engine of economic and social mobility. Led by an award-winning faculty, the University offers nationally recognized programs in science, the arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education and the humanities.

Cal State LA is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Fine Arts Complex, Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs, Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center, Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility, Billie Jean King Sports Complex, TV, Film and Media Center and the Center for Engagement, Service, and the Public Good. For more information, visit