2020 CEBIpitch Finalists Compete Virtually for $20,000 in Cash Prizes
KENT, Ohio – The Kent State College of Business Administration’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation hosted its fourth annual CEBI Pitch competition this spring but added a new spin as student entrepreneurs participated in a virtual pitch competition.
Instead of pitching to an in-person panel of judges and a live audience as with previous competitions, the seven finalists provided pre-recorded pitches and competed virtually for $20,000 in cash prizes. Finalists were given seven minutes to pitch their business and five minutes to answer questions posed by judges prior to the competition. They were asked to film themselves speaking and providing a slideshow outlining pitch highlights, creating an environment similar to of an in-person pitch event.
A panel of executive judges provided feedback and chose winners after watching each recorded pitch. Kelly Fenwick and her company Smart Collar won first place prize of $10,000; Gregory Joyce II and his company Provok won second place prize of $5,000 and Siera Terry and her company Bougie Bands won third place prize of $3,000.
“COVID-19 obviously changed the landscape over the past few months,” said Jason Morris, Managing Partner at Morris Group Consulting and one of this year’s judges. “But the administrators were able to turn lemons into lemonade by still holding a great event online and fulfilling their promise to the hard working and budding entrepreneurs at Kent State. It was an honor to be a part of the judging panel for this online version of the CEBIpitch.”
Other judges for this year’s event included Kent State alumni Bob Archer, CEO and owner of Kent Watersports; Jim Besselman, senior client sales executive at Dassault Systémes; Renée Deluca Dolan, founder and president of Contempo Communications; Shampa Banerjee, chief product officer and vice president at Pluto TV, ViacomCBS's free-streaming TV division and Michael Solomon, who has been involved in early stage technology companies and emerging growth companies as an entrepreneur, investor, senior manager and board member.
All finalists’ pitches are available online for viewing.
More on the Finalists
Kelly Fenwick, a senior entrepreneurship major, earned first place with her company Smart Collar, an electronic wearable device for dogs that allows people to better understand the physical and mental state of their pets. The device attaches to any collar and uses a light that changes color based on the dog’s biometrics. Fear, stress, and/or anxiety can be indicated by the collar.
“I am incredibly honored and excited that Smart Collar took first place in the 2020 CEBIpitch competition,” Fenwick said. “This prize money will help us get a foot in the door and legitimize our company to attract future investors. I could not be more excited for what is coming next.”
Gregory Joyce II, a senior entrepreneurship major, earned second place with his company Provok, a clothing brand designed to display powerful symbolism that represents social issues through design and meaningful content. Based on topics trending on its social media platforms, Provok creates content on clothing that is positive, educational and addresses controversial topics being discussed by college students.
Siera Terry, a graduate student in the fashion industry studies program, earned third place with her company Bougie Bands, an accessories brand for women which reflects an appreciation of female empowerment and inclusivity. With diversity in mind, Bougie Hijabs were created to cater to women who wear hijabs. These types of products are not typically represented in the headband market.
The remaining four pitch finalists received $500 each to help develop their respective companies. The four finalists, all senior entrepreneurship majors, include:
- Rachel Johnson and Pivot
- Anastasia Konstantinopoulos and Soseme
- Nicholas Marsteller and Citrous
- Benjamin Langan and Mulberry Creek Winery
Kent State 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 (MBA and EMBA), business analytics and economics; as well as a comprehensive Ph.D. program with concentrations in accounting, finance, information systems, management and marketing.
Kent State's College of Business Administration ranks as a top business college in Ohio and the number one public university in Northeast Ohio by U.S. News and World Report and is ranked as one of the nation’s Best Business Schools by The Princeton Review. The college is committed to sustainability as an advanced Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) signatory and is recognized by the Sales Education Foundation as a top university for professional sales education.
Joni Bowen, firstname.lastname@example.org, 330-672-1279