Contributed by Dr. Xaver Neumeyer, Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Cameron School of Business.
The Fall 2021 Virtual Rocket Pitch Competition saw finalists from three different schools competing for a total of $600 prize money. After a virtual welcome by Chancellor Sartarelli, students had 90 seconds to pitch their ideas to a panel of nine judges. James Plott, Management and Leadership, was declared the winner. Valentin Schwoerer and Emily Goutille, both international students, won 2nd place. Fiona Hunter, Studio Art, and Erica Santiago, MBA candidate in entrepreneurship shared the 3rd place. The judges included Jay Schach (Department of Management), Heather McWhorter (CIE & SBDTC), Jamie Stalfort (SBDTC), Girard Newkirk (Genesis Block), Rob Kaiser (Greater Wilmington Business Journal), Lisa Brandkamp (Corning Optical Communication), Deborah Mosca (XCMR), Andrew Birkett (Atheris Entertainment), and Alexia Franzidis (CHHS). The competition was organized and coordinated by Xaver Neumeyer (Department of Management).
This year's Rocket Pitch Competition, hosted by the Cameron School of Business with support from the Small Business and Technology Development Center and the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, was the second annual virtual competition. The virtual format was first deployed in Fall 2020, due to the COVID-19 restrictions. This competition provides undergraduate and graduate students from all majors and standings with an opportunity to pitch their new entrepreneurial ideas. The student's Ideas ranged from music subscription services to recycling scanners and provided participants with rigorous feedback and prizes.
What's involved? First, interested students submit a two-paragraph summary of their idea. After an initial review process, they then get selected to pitch (virtually). Participants typically have 90 seconds to present to a panel of judges, who then select the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners. In total, we received 34 submissions this semester and selected 11 to present. There were 30 attendees, including the nine judges.
1st place – James Plott, Management and Leadership, Geodesic Dome
2nd place – Valentin Schwoerer and Emily Goutille, Entrepreneurship and Business Development, Party Box
3rd place – Fiona Turner, Studio Art, Mental Health Analytics & Erica Santiago, MBA candidate (Entrepreneurship), Sistas Living Life
Hope Ingling, Music, The Spacer
Jack Fishback, Music, RackJobber
Danny Mangieri, Finance & Entrepreneurship and Business Development, Hydrohome
Danielle Harris, Healthful Living and Fitness Education, Nails on the go
Clay Stewart, Biology, Beer Me
Ally Martello, Environmental Sciences, The Recycling Scanner
Zachary Bradley, Computer Science, Proto-Pin Productions
Alexia Franzidis, Associate Professor and Program Coordinator of Tourism Recreation & Sport, CHHS
Heather McWhorter, Regional Director of SBDTC, Interim Director of CIE
Jamie Stalfort, Business Launch Specialist at SBDTC
Girard Newkirk, Co-Founder of Genesis Block
Rob Kaiser, Co-owner and publisher of the Greater Wilmington Business Journal and Wilma Magazine
Lisa Brandkamp, Director of Integration, Corning Optical Communication
Deborah Mosca, Chief Life Science Officer at XCMR Inc.
Andrew Birkett, Founder of Atheris Entertainment and Co-owner of Froot Farms
Jay Schach, Lecturer of Management, Mentor at Seagrass Consulting LLC