Binghamton University student-run club Entrepreneur Connect held it’s third annual idea pitch competition, dubbed “Pitch It!” last week. The competition, geared toward students with an entrepreneurial idea or existing business, brought out 14 students who pitched for a cut of $2,000 in prize money. Additional support for the competition was provided by the Koffman Southern Tier Incubator and the office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Partnerships.
Competition judges included five seasoned entrepreneurs, 4 of which are Binghamton University alumni, from across various industries with vast experience. Judges included: Balki Iyer ’00, MS, an entrepreneur with extensive experience and success in the clean energy space; Laura Whitmore, Owner and Founder of Strategic Test Prep, a tutoring and test prep company located in Binghamton; Chukwudi Kanu ’18, Founder of Humblebrag, a networking software company aimed at start-ups and founders; Jacob Kumpon ’22, Co-Founder and COO of KLAW Industries, a company developing a high-performance, low-carbon concrete product made from recycled materials; and David Whalen ’05, Owner of student-favorite late night eatery Binghamton Hots.
The entrepreneurial spirit was high and the pitches were on point, with a diverse array of business ideas being presented. Competitors were given five minutes to present a problem, explain their idea, and how their idea solves that problem. Five additional minutes of Q&A followed each pitch, where the judges peppered each student or team with direct questions, putting their ideas to the test. After all students had taken a turn to present and the judges deliberated, three ideas rose to the top.
Third place and the student’s choice award, along with $500 went to junior Liam O’Hanlon, who presented his online insurance marketplace concept, OnePolicy. The second-place award and $500 went to Pocket Mod, a website to facilitate moderating the game of Mafia, presented by a team comprised of juniors Zoha Khan, Saqqara Madden, and Jolin Lin. The team said, “We enjoyed the opportunity to present and are grateful for the prize! We are also glad to have met the other amazing student entrepreneurs and the fantastic judges.”
First place and the top prize of $1,000 went to Elisha Olojede and his easy and affordable app for Churches, Social Circle. “I wholeheartedly believe in the success of Social Circle, and am glad that the judges were able to see the same. I will be using the prize money to provide free trials for the first ten churches that join Social Circle and to pay for a developer account for the Google Play Store, and Apple Store in order to launch the app.” said Olojede.
All participants gained great experience, pitching in front of their peers, along with valuable feedback from the seasoned and knowledgeable judges. All were encouraged to continue working on their ideas, no matter the outcome, and to keep their entrepreneurial drive strong.
Congratulations to all the participants and winners!