The Pitch 2015 – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

The Pitch 2015

Two individuals and two sets of partners will compete in the fourth installment of the Stu Lieblein ’90 Pitch Contest on Thursday, March 12.

Paige Pierce ’17, Jericsson Pichardo ’15, Liz Lunderman ’16, Katharine Boeding ’16, Gloria Garcia ’17 and Sam Solomon ’17 will faceoff on March 12, at 7 p.m. in the Vandervort Room of the Scandling Campus Center, where they will present their pitch to a panel of judges in front of the HWS community.

The Pitch, an entrepreneurial leadership contest organized by the Centennial Center for Leadership (CCL), is designed to draw out entrepreneurial ingenuity and creativity from student as they compete for the top prize, a $10,000 grant to fund their idea. 

This year’s contest, which doubled last year’s proposal numbers, has been narrowed down to the following ideas:

Pierce’s proposal would parlay her interest in fashion into a mobile storefront, Orchard Outfitters, which would serve as “a brand ambassador on wheels,” circumventing online shopping and shipping by bringing the fashions to campus and connecting college students directly with popular Northeast brands and trends.

Capitalizing on their passions for food, design, and environmental stewardship, Garcia and Solomon are proposing a honey tasting bar and storefront, Beehave, to embrace the beauty of nature and food. The business, which would be located in downtown Nashville, Tenn., would harvest local, organic honey and offer “a new and exciting customer experience, featuring seasonal food and drink pairings designed to highlight and complement our delicious honey.”

Lunderman and Boeding are pooling their interests and backgrounds in the environment with their proposal for Women in Wilderness, a non-profit organization whose tagline, “Strengthen the Sisterhood | Save the Wilderness,” speaks to the mission to “expose the magic of wilderness and the internal power it creates for all women through film and experience.” Lunderman and Boeding hope to produce a film as part of an awareness campaign that would “expose athletic role models in extreme sports to give girls inspiration to journey into the wilderness.” They also hope create a foundation to offer young women scholarships to experience the wilderness.

Pichardo’s idea for a non-profit organization would set the foundation and act as the fundraising arm for the second part of his proposal: a new urban district school in Rochester, N.Y. The Rochester River School and Rochester River School Foundation would offer “a rigorous, college preparatory curriculum that teaches on-water job skills, environmental stewardship, and action (“doing”) by utilizing Rochester’s natural features, especially its waterways.” The “classroom” would extend to the Genesee River and Lake Ontario, as well as the City of Rochester, the Erie Canal, and the nearby Finger Lakes, and would prioritize community engagement, service learning activities, sustainable community development, and community art projects, among other innovative learning opportunities.

“The Pitch final event is a really fun night. The students have worked so hard by this point that all of their ideas are worth-while and poised to be action-ready,” says Susan Pliner, director of the Centennial Center for Leadership. “We’re really fortunate to have the HWS community get behind this contest. In four years, we’ve had faculty, staff, alums, local entrepreneurs and now Stu Lieblein contribute their experiences and expertise to ready our students. We’re really grateful for that and pleased that The Pitch has become such a visual representation of our Centennial Center for Leaderhip programming, which is designed to develop creative problem-solvers in local and global communities. We’re hoping for a big audience to support these finalists. It takes a lot of hard work and courage to pitch an idea on such a large stage.”

As a precursor to the competition several semi-finalists were a part of the HWS IdeaLab, a six-week incubator program to help accelerate student ideas. Those who participated workshopped their ideas with peers and also had access to the Colleges’ vast network of alums to seek out professional expertise in refining their ideas. Students were incentivized to enter the contest by the prize of $1,000 to any IdeaLab student who made the second round of The Pitch.

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