It’s down to the final four teams. Out of a record number of applicants, five student entrepreneurs — seated on four teams — have made it to the final round of the 2019 Pitch contest. They will present their innovative business ideas to a panel of experts on Thursday, March 7 in the Vandervort Room of the Scandling Campus Center. The winning pitch takes home a $10,000 prize. The competition will be live streamed.
“I think this year’s contest is an indicator that HWS students are really engaged with the entrepreneurial opportunities on campus — the Entrepreneurial Studies minor, the programs at the Centennial Center and the new Bozzuto Center for Entrepreneurship. The proposals we saw were of excellent quality and we are eager to see how these finalists transfer that writing into their next assignment: a pitch presentation,” says Director of the Centennial Center Amy Forbes who oversees the competition. “March 7 should be a great event — a full display of entrepreneurial ingenuity and liberal arts learning.”
This year’s finalists are:
Samuel Andra ’20, who created Sense, an advanced tremolo/vibrado system that aids in the prevention of guitar tuning issues. Andra’s tool helps guitarists expand the capabilities of their instruments and improve their creative ability, performance and potential.
Garrett Brzozowiec ’19 and Michael Harris ’19 collaborated on TouchTab, an integrated software application that enables customers at drinking establishments to display, track and close their tabs entirely from their smartphone. TouchTab includes a social media component and is designed to work with a bar’s already existing point-of-sale system.
Alexandria Knipper ’21, whose UVA service uses a unique identification questionnaire to strategically connect cancer patients, survivors and caregivers in an online cancer support community. Knipper’s work is inspired by her experience as a caregiver for a loved one diagnosed with cancer.
Maxim Zibitsker ’19, whose Aqua Salutem uses artificial intelligence and a computer-based echolocation system to help identify drowning before it occurs, and minimize rescue response times for drowning victims. Zibitsker’s project is inspired by his time spent working as a lifeguard.
Established in 2012, The Pitch is an entrepreneurial leadership contest designed to bring one idea to life through a $10,000 grant. Students propose and pitch their startup, and are judged by experts who consider their creativity and viability of the venture in today’s marketplace. Semifinalists work with alum mentors to refine their proposals.
Past winners have gone on to develop a social media crowdfunding platform for non-profit organizations, launch a test-prep company in Ghana, and provide scholarships to Boston youth.