The entrepreneurial spirit was alive and well at this year's Venture Pitch competition. Each year the College's business management program hosts its business pitch competition open to all students. Due to the College undergoing altered operations due to COVID-19, the competition was held virtually but still set a record number of 12 teams participating.
The expert panel of judges consisted of business owners, non-profit directors, faculty, and administrators, which included Gary Bucek, Leon Burks, LaDarrell Hopkins, Courtney Taylor, and Dr. Christopher Wild. Presenters had 10 minutes to pitch their business idea and five minutes to answer questions from the judges.
"Our Venture Pitch competition gives students from all majors a chance to get creative and use their knowledge and experience to pitch their business ideas to local business experts," said Kevin Hale, San Jacinto College business management professor. "For those who are really pursuing a career in business entrepreneurship, the competition offers a chance to experience the kinds of questions loan officers and investors will ask them. They can then take that feedback and do further research or make tweaks to their idea or service so they can possibly get their business off the ground and fulfill their dream of being a business owner."
The 2021 Venture Pitch first-place winners were students Michael Schoppa and Bryan Quezada, also known as The Cold Collar Ballers. Schoppa and Quezada created an affordable electronic device solution to be placed within a child's car seat that syncs to a keychain to alert parents when their child is accidentally left in the car. The team received a $700 scholarship.
Second place and a $500 scholarship went to Yadiel Rios, who created a unique solution for gamers. Many times, players need to go "away from keyboard" or AFK for a number of reasons, especially those that require long waiting times for queues to enter massively multiplayer online games. This often leads to harsh penalties or needing to restart their wait again within the queues. Rios devised a protype device that serves as a "key holder" for gamers to place on their keyboard when they need to go AFK.
Third place with a $300 scholarship went to Aiden Nguyen, who created an automated tennis score keeper. Nguyen demonstrated how his score keeper was portable and easy to use via an app that synced to the device to easily keep score on any tennis court.
The winning teams created impressive presentations with cost analyses, competitive research, and marketing ideas to showcase their ideas along with how their ideas create solutions for a number of needs consumers experience.
For more information on San Jacinto College's business management program, visit sanjac.edu/program/business-management.