Intelliflo, Thoozl, Gigstarter and Gifted by Yaya Score at 2018 Business Pitch
Congratulations to all participants of the 2018 Business Pitch! The winners include Curtis Young and Justin Battle of Intelliflow, earning $3,000 and placing first for their residential air management device pitch. Antwaine Miller and William Miller placed second, earning $2,000 for Thoozl, a social media platform where users can participate, view and critique debates. Martin Tejeda, Marco Garza, Alex Lam, and Oscar Aguayo placed third winning $1,000 with Gigstarter, a platform that connects students with job experiences in their majors. This year Dr. Marla Parker, professor of Political Science in the College of Natural and Social Sciences sponsored a $1,000 Social Innovation prize to encourage students to build innovative business models that impact society. Denise Ramirez earned the prize for her social enterprise venture, Gifted by Yaya, a marketplace that sells greeting cards made by senior citizens combating depression.
The Business Pitch encourages students with an innovative business idea to compete for prizes, mentorship, and the chance to pitch their ideas to our panel of highly accomplished investors and entrepreneurs. Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation former Director Barney Santos considers the event more of a celebration than competition. “I believe deeply about making sure that the students don’t get obsessed about the outcome of the pitch competition. I’d rather they become obsessed with who they become through the entrepreneurial journey itself. When these emerging entrepreneurs learn to fall in love with the journey, they learn to manage the big wins and the big losses better. The Business Pitch, in my opinion, is not really about who wins but about who you’ve become to get to the final pitch, the event is truly a celebration of all the hard work and self-discovery you’ve gone through.” he said.
Months of hard work and coaching paid off. The 10 week journey from idea submission to the final pitch includes workshops and coaching to help teams hone their idea, test its viability and communicate their plan effectively. Special thanks to Justin Wolske of GRID 110 for coaching teams on developing a business model and to Lizzy Wallace of Pitch Polish for training students to craft a convincing pitch. The continued success of the event and teams are due to Barney’s approach. He strives to “nurture ideas, provide high quality training and access to resources, then get out of their way”.
All of that work prepares teams to face the pitch judges and answer tough questions. Thank you to this year’s judges Roy Burstin, Upfront Ventures, Vanessa Faggiolly, Amerisal Foods, Eric Sarabia, Acelera and Kat Yalung, LA Chamber Bixel Exchange.
In addition to the judges and college staff, the College of Business and Economics also thanks our sponsor Boeing for making this event possible. These collaborations between the college and business community provide real-world opportunities for students to hone their skills, think creatively and grow professionally. For more information about the annual event contact Barney Santos at [email protected]