The Pitch Selects Semi-Finalists – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

The Pitch Selects Semi-Finalists

Six student proposals have been selected for the semi-finals in the Centennial Center for Leadership’s entrepreneurial contest The Pitch. For its second year, the Colleges will host the immensely popular competition, giving one finalist the chance at a $10,000 grant.

“We were very impressed by the quality of ideas from students,” says Associate Director of CCL Amy Forbes. 

CCL received an abundance of applications, and after an intense judging process, chose six exceptional non-profit and for-profit entrepreneurial ideas. Each of the semi-finalists will be paired with an alumni or alumnae in his or her related field, who will act as an entrepreneurial mentor, assisting the student in strengthening the proposal before they are submitted for reevaluation.

The students and teams selected and their proposed ideas include:

Rachel Braccini ’15 – “OUTstanding Campaign,” a campaign aimed to increase awareness, inclusiveness and support for the LGBT community.  

Kristian Hart ’13, Kylie Hart ’13 and Caroline Paneyko ’13 – “Knot Goods,”  a luxury scarf line that offers a variety of fashionable looks using unique knot designs.

Andrew King ‘14 and Zachary Lerman ’13 – “SpaceVinyl,”  vinyl cut stickers that allow individuals to personalize their computers with unique sticker designs, logos and illustrations.

Mimi Mahoney ’14 – “Connecting Smiles,” an organization that connects college students and individuals with developmental and intellectual challenges using art, music, and dance. 

Matthew Mead ‘13 – “Hempitecture,” an environmental design company devoted to the development of hemp-based materials for architectural applications, using hemp to supplement and replace non-sustainable design materials.

Laina Zissu ’16 – “Shoelains,” an affordable shoe line with interchangeable straps and bows to match any outfit, designed to give young girls choices.

“I am very appreciative of the work our selection committee put in,” says Forbes. “In addition to reviewing and scoring proposals, they had a lengthy, thoughtful discussion to determine which proposals had the most potential going forward.”

Selection Committee members this year include: Director of the Centennial Center for Leadership Susan Pliner; Associate Professor of Political Science Kevin Dunn; Associate Professor of Economics JoBeth Mertens; Professor of Media and Society Les Friedman;  Director of the Salisbury Center for Career Services and Professional Development Brandi Ferrara; Vice President of Communications Cathy Williams; Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and Chief Information Officer Fred Damiano; Director of the Finger Lakes Institute Lisa Cleckner; CEO/Founder of F. Oliver’s in Canandaigua, N.Y., Penelope Pankow; and CEO/Founder of Red Jacket Orchard Joe Nicholson.

“The second round is really about reshaping their proposal idea into practical application plan,” explains Forbes. “I congratulate these semi-finalists, and I am interested in seeing their progress after they have worked with their mentor.”