In its fifth year, the CBE’s Business Pitch showcased six finalists competing for the chance to earn funds that could help them build their start-up businesses. For 2017, Jared Alanis, Desmond Beristain and Daniel Salehi of Festie took first place with their festival smartband that helps attendees stay connected to their friends.
All six finalists made convincing pitches to the judges. The other two winning teams include second place winner Brighton Lynscot Kimbell for her marketplace app Nappywood that connects stylists with clients interested in natural hair products and techniques. Michael Gatchalian, Jeff Lee and Duli Park took third place with Young Scent, a healthy and flavorful fruit vinegar beverage. Student teams from ConAxion, Reigned and Xinampa Farms also made it to the final six teams.
Barney Santos, Entrepreneur in Residence at the CBE’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, emphasized to attendees that “the program is here to create real ventures.” He said his role is to nurture ideas, provide top quality training and access to resources. He enables students to have those “a-ha moments” and then get out of their way.
Barney’s proof is in the pudding. Two teams from previous Pitch events, Roadiy and Cropsticks are already generating revenue. Pay n Park and Food Truckie Nation will pilot their ventures in India and Los Angeles respectively, this year. In March, the ConAxion team, then Small Business Strong, won the L.A. Mayor’s Cup – a competition for student entrepreneurs to develop the most innovative ideas for solving issues facing the city.
The Pitch is open to all Cal State LA students and recent alumni. Student teams submit their product idea, receive some initial coaching, and then make an initial pitch. The final six teams are selected based on their idea’s viability. Prior to the final pitch the teams receive five weeks of training and preparation from the Pasadena Small Business Development Center and the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
The day of the event, finalists pitch their ideas to entrepreneurs and community business leaders and respond to judges’ pointed questions. This year’s judges include Zuhey Espinoza Deputy Director of Policy, President’s office, Cal State LA; Kyle Webb, CFO of Webb Family Enterprises; Luis Patino, President of Univision Los Angeles; William Chu, CFO of Singpoli Capital; and Andy Rosillo, Co-Founder of Indie Desk.
In addition to the judges, SBDC and college staff, the College of Business and Economics also thanks our sponsors 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.