CEBIpitch | College of Business Administration | Kent State University

CEBIPitch Competition logo.

Third annual CEBIpitch competition
Thursday, April 11, 2019
3 p.m. - 5 p.m., reception immediately following
Governance Chambers, Kent State Student Center

Apply for CEBIpitch 2019

About the CEBIpitch Competition

The Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation (CEBI) hosts an annual pitch competition to help grow and nurture startups within the College of Business Administration's entrepreneurship program.
Applicants must be an entrepreneurship major or minor to qualify. Teams are accepted as long as one student is an entrepreneurship major or minor.
Once selected, six finalists participate in a three-month mentorship program to prepare for the live pitch event. In total, $30,000 will be awarded at the live CEBIpitch event.


Prize Money
Total Cash Prizes

First Place: $15,000
Second Place: $8,000
Third Place: $5,000
Finalists 4-7: $500 each

*Finalists that place first, second or third will receive half of their funding up front and will meet with the CEBI entrepreneurship team to determine goals in which to retrieve the remaining balance.

Judging Criteria for Applicants

Each of the following metrics are scored on a "0-5" system:
1. Business feasibility/How successful
2. Differentiates from competition/marketplace
3. Is well in the process of a sound business plan
4. Realistic picture on obtaining sales and profit
5. Has concrete ideas on how to best utilize funding

2018 CEBIpitch Information

2018 CEBIpitch Winners


  • Ann Cate

    First Place:
    Anne Cate

  • Fabnetics

    Second Place:

  • Bedrock Construction

    Third Place:

  • Fabnetics

    Peoples Choice:


2018 CEBIpitch Finalists

CEBI Finalists




  • Ann Cate
    Anne Cate 

    The Back Story
    Anne Skoch has been an entrepreneur since the age of 13. Her first business entailed selling handmade purses and jewelry on Etsy, a worldwide internet marketplace where millions around the world connect to buy and sell unique goods.

    “Designing, sewing and creating have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember,” says Skoch. 

    In 2016, Skoch took her business to the next level after she made skyline pillows for her dorm room at Kent State and was asked by friends to recreate the pillows in different skyline patterns.

    “From there, I began to take Anne Cate seriously, prototype, and by October of that year, I had wholesale to my first client – American Greetings,” Skoch recalls. 

    According to Skoch, the company’s skyline products are “inspired by the excitement, passion and adventure felt when a city skyline comes into view. Each of the company’s 60+ hand-crafted, unique and classic skyline designs is ensured to bring out the best meanings, memories, and moments from your favorite city.”

    Future Goals
    In the next business year, Skoch hopes to sell over 5,000 units wholesale into 10 states and solidify a made-to-order manufacturer to lower expenses and account for the growing demand. In the next five years, Skoch says, Anne Cate will be a well-known Made in America accessories brand. 

    “I hope to expand my product line, have consistent monthly reorders from major clients, and be selling over 1,000 units per month,” Skoch said.

    What Makes the Business Unique
    According to Skoch, “the Anne Cate Collection, which now features 60+ hand designed skylines, animates your adventures of cities around the world. All products are completely made by hand in small batches in Cleveland, Ohio with the help of Esperanza Threads: a Cleveland-based manufacturer that seeks to improve the lives of individuals with barriers to employment through sewing training. At Anne Cate, we believe there is beauty in simplicity.”


Bedrock Construction

The Back Story
The idea for Bedrock Software was born out of a need founder Luke Nye saw while working in the construction field. “After listening to the complaints and frustrations of industry professionals, my co-founder, Matt Hyland, and I sought to come up with a solution,” Nye explains. In August of 2017, Luke Nye and Matt Hyland founded Bedrock Software, an innovative cloud service and hybrid web application for the modern construction manager and general contractor. Bedrock offers clients a suite of tools to manage projects and efficiently transition from pre-construction services to field operations. “Bedrock Software has no direction competition and is the result of feedback from industry professionals at nationally recognized general contractors,” Nye says. “As a result, it has the potential to become the new industry standard practice and establish itself as the premier pre-construction cloud service.” 

Future Goals
The company is currently working to produce its minimum viable product and will need help transitioning from a garage space to a legally operating and established business as it prepares to introduce Bedrock to possible partners and clients. According to Nye, Bedrock Software is a passion project and hobby for him and his co-founder. Should Bedrock become a viable business, he and his cofounder would love to pursue it full-time. 

What Makes the Business Unique
According to Nye, “Our product/service is one-of-a-kind in that it replaces an industry standard paper process, reducing operating costs and mitigating risk, with a cloud service that allows construction estimators and project managers to focus on what is important through a simple interface designed specifically for them.

  • BE Photography
    B.E. Photography

    The Back Story
    Brianna Steigerwald began taking photos of athletics events in high school after an injury caused her to take a step back from her own athletic endeavors. 

    “I loved capturing special moments in people's lives so much that I continued taking pictures of events in the school and town,” she recalls. “One thing led to another and I began taking portraits and started focusing on senior pictures and engagements.”

    In 2016, Steigerwald founded B.E. Photography with the goal to provide clients with memorable photographs from life’s most important milestones. The company also takes high-quality images and lifestyle photos of products and events to help enhance a company’s brand/image.

    “Photography started as my saving grace, turned into my passion, and transformed into this business,” Steigerwald says.

    Future Goals
    Steigerwald’s goal for the next year is to develop relationships with businesses to consistently be their event or product photographer. She hopes for the business to be successful enough in the next five years that she can take the leap and make it her primary focus and source of income.

    What Makes the Business Unique
    According to Steigerwald, “We make our clients feel comfortable during sessions, allowing them to be themselves instead of feeling awkward and uncomfortable – and the images show that. We quickly form a relationship with our clients so we can capture what they want with ease, whether it be portraits or commercial photos for their business. We provide quality images that capture a business’s brand.



    The Back Story
    After attending Entrepreneurship Immersion Week in Cleveland last year, Jenn Uren and Marissa McKinney discussed starting a business that would help people. The two set out to make life a little easier for those suffering from arthritis and disabilities.

    One of the team members mentioned a family member who dealt with arthritis and the team set out to make life a little easier for arthritis sufferers.

    The team launched Fabnetics, a clothing line made with magnetic-lined fabric. Shirts are designed and manufactured solely by members of the Fabnetics team. 

    “The product is a quick, fashionable and easy way to get dressed with no buttons, snaps or Velcro,” Uren explains.

    Future Goals
    The team’s goal for the next year is to secure a patent and better materials so that it can begin manufacturing its product. Within the next five years, the team hopes to be selling its product on its website as well as partnering with clothing retailers.

    What Makes the Business Unique
    According to Uren, “No one has created anything like what we have. All other similar products do not solve the problem, and some even make it worse. No other company has used magnets. The magnets aren’t even noticeable, so it looks like everyday clothes, yet gives the customer ease and independence.”

  • Ozi

    The Back Story
    Paris Johns and Abu Konteh conducted market research to determine which type of service could bring value to the Kent community. 

    “We wanted to create something that would be beneficial to students, elderly and those with physical limitations,” Johns explains.

    From this research, the team founded Ozi, a multipurpose errand service based in Kent, Ohio, in August 2017. The service allows customers to have groceries, personal items, breakfast, lunch and dinner from their favorite stores and restaurants delivered right to their doorstep. 

    In addition to helping customers, Johns hopes Ozi will create jobs for students and Kent residents. 

    Future Goals
    The company’s goal in the next year is to create an application with unique features to simplify the process of completing errands as quickly as possible. In the next five years, Ozi hopes to grow into a company that can provide jobs and create scholarships for underprivileged students.

    What Makes the Company Unique
    According to Johns, Ozi is unique in its ability to be available for students 24 hours; Monday through Saturday. “Our services are flexible to fit every customers’ unique needs,” Konteh says.



    Pop Out
    Pop Out

    The Back Story
    Chanda Chilupe used her own frustration with finding quality beauty services as the motivation to start a business.

    “After wishing there was one platform to find these talented individuals, I figured I’d be the one to create one,” Chilupe notes.

    During the summer of 2017, Chilupe founded, Pop Out, a free mobile application that connects clients with local individuals skilled in performing beauty services including hair, makeup, nail, eyebrow and eyelash services. Users can showcase their work on verified personal profiles with pictures, location services, in-app messaging, ratings/reviews and more.

    Chilupe has worked with Kent State entrepreneurship faculty, as well as a small business advisor and a Paul Mitchell franchiser, to launch her business.

    Future Goals
    Chilupe’s goal for the next year is for Pop Out to be fully developed and downloaded on the phones of Ohio college students. In the next five years, she hopes for Pop Out to be a nationwide mobile application that is more than connecting clientele with skilled neighborhood individuals - but is an inspiring and motivational brand as well.

    What Makes the Business Unique
    According to Chilupe, “My product is unique because there is no other application for peer-to-peer beauty service connecting. It is for the college student seeking someone nearby to perform beauty services for a low price, versus on-demand beauty applications that are overpriced and more for special events.”

  • Vooster

    The Back Story
    Zach Liptak’s mobile application was founded through the sale of another marketing company.

    After selling his first company, Mobile Advertisements, Liptak founded Vooster in March 2017. Vooster, a video sharing platform, allows users to send videos privately to a friend or post them to their daily chapter for everyone to see.

    “The biggest opportunity I see for Vooster is the decline of SnapChat as well as YouTube not treating their community and creators as before,” Liptak says. “This creates a larger hole in the market which Vooster has set out to fill. This hole in the market will raise acquisition price as well as potentially drive more users to the platform because Vooster is meeting their needs and wants.”

    Future Goals
    Liptak’s goal for the next year is to grow the company as much as possible and to get ready for potential acquisition. In five years, he foresees watching someone else grow the business and hopefully still holding a small amount of equity in the company.

    What Makes the Business Unique
    According to Liptak, “Vooster only uses video posting/chatting and audio so that you can communicate more with each message. On current social networks, you lose a large portion of what is communicated because you aren’t able to see and hear what the person is saying or doing. Emojis were created to solve this issue, but they were not able to do so adequately. Vooster allows for faster and more efficient communication by using video and audio messages only.”



  • Renée Deluca Dolan
    Renée DeLuca Dolan
    Founder and President, Contempo Communications

    Renée DeLuca Dolan is Founder and President of Contempo Communications. She is a member of the Kent State College of Business Administration National Advisory Board and serves as co-presenting sponsor of the Home-plate Celebration event for Northeast Ohio Adoption Services. In addition, she is on the board of the Warrensville Heights Chamber of Commerce. DeLuca Dolan graduated from Kent State in 1988 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in telecommunications.

Tim Eippert
Timothy D. Eippert
Owner and President, MC Sign Company

Timothy D. Eippert is the Owner and President of MC Sign Company, which he purchased in 1994. He serves as past chair of the College of Business Administration’s National Advisory Board and is a member of the Kent State University Alumni Foundation Board. In addition, he is a member of the Ashtabula Chamber of Commerce, The Executive Committee (TEC), and is a member of the President’s Council. In 2004, Eippert was named Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year and was featured in Crain’s Cleveland Business 40 Under 40. Eippert graduated from Kent State University in 1992 with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in marketing and management.

Rob Heiser
Rob Heiser
President and CEO, Segmint, Inc.

Rob Heiser co-founded Segmint Inc., a fast-growing marketing technology company based in Akron, Ohio. Heiser is also co-founder, president and CEO of WiredViews Inc., a boutique digital marketing agency. Previously, he was chief technology officer of SupplierInsight (acquired by Procuri), where he led the application and product development of the first commercially available Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) application. He was also manager of internet applications and one of the founding employees of Xtrasource, Inc. (acquired by Sento in 2003). Heiser earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in management and information systems from Kent State University in 2001.

Robert Morocco Headshot
Robert Morocco
President and ceo, cymedica orthopedics

Morocco has served as President and CEO of CyMedica Orthopedics since 2013. Prior to that, he held positions as President and CEO of Orthoscan, Chief Financial Officer for Isotis and Chief Financial Officer for OPUS Medical. Morocco graduated from Kent State University in 1990 with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in accounting.

Gregg Myles
Gregg Mylett
Founder and CEO, Corporate United

Gregg Mylett created the nation’s largest office products buying group. Mylett facilitated the first sourcing initiative in 1998, establishing a contracted program that delivered tremendous value to each of the original five participants: Lubrizol, Marconi Medical Systems, Parker Hannifin, Progressive and Sherwin-Williams. That initial success expanded into 40+ indirect spend categories and a membership of over 400 companies spending $234 billion on indirect goods and services per year. Mylett graduated from Kent State University in 1986 with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in marketing.

Scott Peters
Scott D. Peters
Founder, Chairman, CEO and President of Healthcare Trust of America, Inc.

Scott D. Peters is the Founder, Chairman, CEO and President of Healthcare Trust of America, Inc. (NYSE:HTA), the largest publicly traded real estate investment trust dedicated to the medical office sector. HTA owns and operates a medical office portfolio comprised of 24 million square feet located in 33 states throughout the country. Peters has served as HTA’s Founder and Chairman of the Board since July 2006, Chief Executive Officer since April 2006 and President since June 2007. Peters has grown the company into the largest dedicated owner of medical office buildings in the United States real estate with an enterprise value of over $8 billion. Peters graduated from Kent State University in 1981 with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in accounting and finance.



Michael D. Solomon
Michael D. Solomon
CEO/Founder, XYZ Color Science

Solomon has been involved in early stage technology companies and emerging growth companies as an entrepreneur, investor, senior manager and board member. Early in his career, he owned the youngest of Apple Computer's independent representative firms from 1980 to 1984, the period when Apple grew from $100 million to $1.4 billion in annual sales. In 1985, he became the original vice president of sales and marketing with Aldus Corporation in Seattle, which launched the desktop publishing industry through its PageMaker software. Solomon has provided leadership to companies including Collabra, Telocity, Flycast and eShop. He served as a partner at Mohr Davidow Ventures from 1996 to 2002. From 2005 to 2010, he served as CEO of Audyssey Laboratories of Los Angeles. In 2010, Solomon started his latest company, XYZ Color Science, Inc., which seeks to revolutionize the way color is displayed on display devices. He serves as the Board Chairman of Within 3 Corporation, a Cleveland-based medical industry software company and is a member of the Kent State University Board of Trustees. He graduated from Kent State University in 1974 with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree.





The Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation (CEBI) immerses students in entrepreneurship education and experiences, advances entrepreneurial research and nurtures regional outreach.

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Contact Us


  • Rohlin_Shawn

    Director, Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation and Associate Professor,

  • Missy Gerbick

    CEBIpitch Coordinator,
    Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation | 330-672-7890