College of Business Administration’s Annual CEBIpitch Competition Awards $30,000 to Student Entrepreneurs

KENT, Ohio – Seven student-run businesses pitched their ideas for a chance to win more than $30,000 in cash prizes at the third annual CEBIpitch Competition held at Kent State University on April 11.


Following deliberation by a panel of executive alumni judges, first prize of $15,000 was awarded to GreekDoor, comprised of students Nahuel Gorostiza, Matthew King, Samuel Owens, Seth Ranzinger and Cameron Croghan. GreekDoor is a mobile application that aims to help ensure the safety of attendees at Greek-sponsored events. The application uses a digital system to check guests in at events and check them out once they leave.


Second place prize of $8,000 was awarded to William Matthews and Zach Mottershead, co-founders of Southern Comfort Kitchen. Southern Comfort Kitchen, a mobile food truck, brings authentic New Orleans cooking to locations across the region.


A cash prize of $3,000 each went to two businesses – Handmade Hoopla and Makeup Madhouse, which tied for third place. Handmade Hooopa, run by student Kathryn Gray, provides crafting boxes containing all supplies and instructions to complete a project for small groups or gatherings.


Makeup Madhouse, founded by student Carrie Esser, provides creative body painting services large companies, non-profits, start-ups and organizations.


Other participating student businesses included Linden Lehner of Linden Lane Artworks, Wesley Thomason and Kyle Woost of Mix-O-Matic and Jaynanne Sheehan of PlateMap. Each of these businesses received a $500 cash prize.


“The third annual CEBIpitch competition showcased talented student entrepreneurs at Kent State and their performance illustrated the level of guidance and mentorship they received from College faculty and professional entrepreneurs over the past several months,” said Deborah F. Spake, Ph.D., dean of the College of Business Administration.


The judge panel for the event included the following, all Kent State alumni:


  • Shampa Banerjee, Chief Product Officer, Eros Digital at Eros International - Banerjee leads Eros Digital, the streaming platform for the largest integrated film studio of India. She serves as a board member for the Association for Corporate Growth Silicon Valley and previously was a Board Advisor for Wist and Minio Social Games.
  • Renée DeLuca Dolan, Founder and President, Contempo Communications – DeLuca Dolan 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.
  • Tina Floyd, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Consumer Foods, The J.M. Smucker Company - Floyd is responsible for the Consumer and Natural Foods Strategic Business Areas and is a member of The J.M. Smucker Company Executive Leadership Team. She formerly served as Vice President and General Manager, Away From Home.
  • Michael D. Solomon, CEO and 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. He is a member of the Kent State University Board of Trustees and the Kent State University Foundation Board.

Following the live pitch, judges provided each company with feedback and practical advice for the future.


“The decision-making process was much harder this year because of the quality of the businesses,” said Solomon, who also served as a judge at last year’s event.


View the streamed event here:



About CEBIpitch

The purpose of CEBIpitch is to help grow and support startups within the College of Business Administration’s entrepreneurship program. The Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation immerses students in entrepreneurship education and experiences, advances entrepreneurial research and nurtures regional outreach. Learn more about the CEBIpitch competition:


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 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 Ph.D. program with concentrations in accounting, finance, information systems, management and marketing.

The Kent State College of Business Administration ranked among the top business schools in the nation according to U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Undergraduate Business Programs” and is ranked as one of the nation’s Best Business Schools by 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.



Media Contacts

Joni Bowen, 330-672-1279,

POSTED: Friday, April 12, 2019 - 3:46pm