Ten semi-finalists have been selected from a competitive pool of applicants for the 2019 Stu Lieblein ‘90 Pitch Contest. The students now have the opportunity to hone their business proposals, as they work with an alum mentor with experience in their market of interest, and receive feedback as they develop their ideas. In the spring, finalists give their pitch to a panel of experts as they compete to win a $10,000 grant that will jumpstart their businesses and non-profits.
“The selection committee worked diligently to review proposals and had a difficult decision narrowing them down,” says Director of the Centennial Center Amy Forbes, after the committee received a record number of applications. “We believe these semi-finalists have the potential to be competitive in the next round. They have been matched with an alum mentor and will have until January 22 to revise and strengthen their proposals.”
Established in 2012, The Pitch is an entrepreneurial leadership contest designed to bring one idea to life through a $10,000 grant. Students propose, refine and pitch their startup, and are judged by experts who consider their creativity and viability of the venture in today’s marketplace. Past winners have gone on to launch a test-prep company in Ghana, design personalized laptop stickers and provide scholarships to Boston youth.
“The Pitch will give me the opportunity to tap into the experiences of entrepreneurs who have successfully launched their own businesses,” says Alexandria Knipper ’21, whose proposal for an online cancer connection community will connect patients, survivors and caregivers. “I’m determined to see my idea flourish in order to give support to people who need it.”
This year’s semi-finalists and their ideas include:
Samuel Andra ’20 – Sense, a modernized tremolo/vibrado system aimed toward guitarists to widen their creative ability and potential
Garrett Brzozowiec ’19 and Michael Harris ’19 – TouchTab, an integrated software application that enables nightclub customers to display, track and close their tabs entirely from their smartphone
Alexander Cohen ’20 – PowerSet, a powerful and versatile tool to quickly and easily analyze large amounts of stock market data
Hayden Dieterle ’22 – TradeTribe, an online marketplace to effectively and efficiently connect contractors with skilled laborers
Brian Helms ’19 – Algae Biodiesel, a biodiesel program where algae replaces fryer oil as the fuel source
Alexandria Knipper ’21 – UVA, an online cancer connection community that strategically connects cancer patients, survivors and caregivers with one another through a unique identification questionnaire
Robert Lewis Jr. ’19 – The Wave Initiative, a service to provide financial literacy to underserved communities
Helen Wagner Maggitti ’19 – Project Impact, a tool to help consumers better understand the social and environmental impacts of their financial decisions
Jack Polentes ‘21 – The Orchard Project, community orchards to promote sustainability in Geneva’s food access, ecology, education and community
Maxim Zibitsker ’19 – Aqua Salutem, a system to identify drowning victims before it occurs and minimize rescue response times using artificial intelligence and a computer-based echolocation system
Pitch 2019 will take place on Thursday, March 7 in the Vandervort Room of the Scandling Campus Center.