$20,000 Awarded to Student Entrepreneurs at Fifth Annual CEBIpitch


KENT, Ohio – Student entrepreneurs pitched their businesses to a panel of executive judges for $20,000 in cash prizes at the Kent State College of Business Administration’s fifth annual CEBIpitch competition held April 7.

Grace Irvin-Dillard, a senior entrepreneurship and pan-African studies major, took first place, earning $10,000 for her company, Touched by Grace. Touched by Grace provides all-natural, handmade personal care products for those with skin sensitivities. Products include facial, body and feminine care items

Jonathan Henry, an MBA graduate student, won second place, earning $5,000 for his business, CommUNITy. CommUNITy provides customizable sterilization solutions that are sustainable. Using UV-C irradiation allows the company to create sanitation products that require no chemicals to target and kill pathogens.

Mattney Yates, a senior entrepreneurship major, won third place, earning $2,500 for her company, Capsule Collective. The Capsule Collective creates custom and ready-to-wear jackets out of recycled, sustainable materials that have meaning for the buyer.

The remaining five finalists received $500 to help start their businesses.

Immediately following the pitch, participants had the opportunity to participate in a live Q&A session with Daymond John, founder/CEO of FUBU, presidential ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship, star of ABC’s Shark Tank and CEO of The Shark Group. This opportunity was possible due to John serving as the keynote speaker for the Better Business Bureau of Akron’s 101 Year Anniversary celebration hosted by the College’s Michael D. Solomon Entrepreneurship Speaker Series on April 8.

Judges for the event included:

  • Shampa Banerjee Ph.D., Chief Product Officer/Executive Vice President Pluto TV-ViacomCBS
  • Michael Capellas, Founder and CEO of Capellas Partners
  • Tina Floyd, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Consumer Foods, The J.M. Smucker Company
  • M.R. Rangaswami, Co-founder, Sand Hill Group
  • Michael Solomon, entrepreneur, investor, board member

All pitches are available for viewing here.


About Kent State University’s College of Business Administration

Kent State University’s College of Business Administration is among the fewer than 1% of business schools worldwide to obtain dual Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accreditation in both business and accounting. The college boasts 10 undergraduate majors, 14 minors and a Professional Sales Certificate program; master’s degrees in accounting, business administration (Master of Business Administration and Executive Master of Business Administration), business analytics and economics; as well as a Ph.D. program with concentrations in accounting, finance, information systems, management and marketing. For more information about Kent State’s College of Business Administration, visit www.kent.edu/business.


Media Contacts:

Joni Bowen, jbowen1@kent.edu, 330-672-1279

POSTED: Tuesday, May 25, 2021 - 12:10pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, October 6, 2021 - 5:11pm
Joni Bowen, jbowen1@kent.edu, 330-672-1279