Kent State University's College of Business Administration Hosts CEBIpitch Competition

KENT, Ohio - May 1, 2017

The Kent State University College of Business Administration's Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation (CEBI) hosted its inaugural student business pitch competition, CEBIpitch, on April 13 at the Kent State University Hotel & Conference Center.

CEBIpitch gave student entrepreneurs the opportunity to grow their businesses and develop as business owners. To enter the contest, students submitted a video pitch of their business and six finalists were chosen to compete for cash prizes at the live pitch competition.

Following the competition, three winners were presented with cash prizes. Prize money was provided by the Dr. Victor and Cheryl M. Petrovic Venture Fund. Winners were Ariella Yager with Case.MD, who received first prize of $2,500; Zac Melchiorre with Drive Points who received second prize of $1,500 and a People's Choice award of $500, and Jono Kontur with Fresh Priority Foods who received third prize of $1,000.

"It was an amazing experience," Yager said of the competition. "I loved being able to learn from other student entrepreneurs and be rewarded for my hard work and dedication to making my company something I hope will change the world."

Judges for the competition were John Brinzo '64, retired chairman and CEO of Cliffs Natural Resources and College of Business Administration National Advisory Board member; Renée DeLuca Dolan '88, founder and president of Contempo Communications and College of Business Administration National Advisory Board member; Rob Heiser '01, co-founder and CEO of Segmint and WiredViews; Ethan Holmes, founder and CEO of Holmes Made Foods LLC, and John Myers, entrepreneur-in-residence at the University of Mount Union. In addition to competition judges, a number of local business owners served as mentors and advisors to students before and during the competition. Business mentors and advisors included Burton D. Morgan Foundation, Community Sync, gracylane, Incubox, Melissa Nagy Designs, Off the Wagon and Popped!

The six finalists were:

  • John Hilbert with Diversity Needs Healing, which markets bandages that match diverse skin tones.
  • Colton Jones with The Bean Bike, a mobile coffee cart made from repurposed bicycles that serves Tree City Coffee & Pastry products on Kent State University's campus and in downtown Kent.
  • Jono Kontur with Fresh Priority Foods, an all-natural, gluten-free and top eight allergen-free pizza crust mix from a family-owned restaurant in Florence, Italy.
  • Zac Melchiorre with Drive Points, a free smartphone application that rewards drivers with app-specific deals and coupons for not using their phone while driving.
  • Ariella Yager with Case.MD, a medical device company that focuses on improving the compliance rate of emergency medicine while revolutionizing the way that medicine is carried.
  • Emily Yoder with Earth Energy, an all-natural, vegan and gluten-free power snack company that is packaged with eco-friendly materials.

"The goal of CEBIpitch is to help Kent State University College of Business Administration entrepreneurs advance toward their goal of starting a business both financially and through mentoring, coaching and advice from judges," said Shawn Rohlin, Ph.D., CEBI director and associate professor of economics at the College of Business Administration. "Student entrepreneurs were well prepared and knowledgeable and were able to advance their businesses a great deal through participation in the competition."

For more information on the Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation, visit http://www.kent.edu/business/cebi.


Kent State University's College of Business Administration is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB) and is one of the largest colleges of business in Ohio. The College has more than 4,300 students representing 50 countries with over 85 full-time faculty from 16 countries.

The college grants undergraduate through graduate degrees, and is one of only three public business colleges in Ohio with a comprehensive Ph.D. program. The MBA program is offered both in-person and online in an accelerated format. The Executive MBA program offers two tracks: one targeting corporate professionals and the other healthcare executives. The M.S. in Accounting and M.A. in Economics are specialized master's degrees for those seeking advanced study in these disciplines. The College also offers a Master of Science degree in Business Analytics (MSBA) that spans all industries and organizations. The college boasts 10 undergraduate majors, 12 minors and a Professional Sales Certificate program.

The college is listed as a Best Business School by Princeton Review, one of only 23 accounting programs worldwide to be endorsed by the IMA (Institute of Management Accountants), ranked Top-Tier for Executive Education in North America by CEO Magazine and ranked by the SEF (Sales Education Foundation) for Professional Sales Education.

The college boasts an onsite Career Services Center and International Programs Office dedicated to business students, and operates the Global Management Center, the Center for Information Systems and the Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation all propelling scholarly research, establishing innovative industry partnerships and providing outreach to Northeast Ohio and beyond.

Media Contacts:
Joni Bowen, Public Relations and Media Specialist, cell: (330) 221-0637, work: (330) 672-1279, jbowen1@kent.edu