The third presentation was done by Shaaliyah Lyons, a junior majoring in Sports management with a minor in African Studies and a certificate in Entrepreneurial Studies.
Her business, “Together We Conquer Life Skills Basketball Camp INC (TWC)” is a total basketball skills camp committed to inspiring young athletes to strive for excellence in all aspects of their lives. The camp emphasizes complete player development and as a result, the student-athlete not only completes high school, but also gets admitted into college with or without an athletic scholarship and succeeds while in and after college.
The fourth business idea was “”, a business created by Selene Presseller, a senior studying Marketing and Information Technology Management. Her business is a website and application designed to help horse owners make an early diagnosis of illnesses and help them to locate reputable veterinarians. Presseller has been in the competition three times and attributes a lot of her success in the competition to the mentors provided by Professor Susan Scherreik.
The final presentation was done by Christian Zeron, a senior majoring in Catholic Studies. His business “Theo & Harris”, which was launched a year ago and generated over $100,000 in sales in its first year of operation.
Winning the first place grand prize was Christian Zeron’s company, Theo & Harris. He also won the audience award of $500.
When asked about his business Zeron said, “In a market that is so focused on revenue, I am laser focused on owning people’s attention.”
Claiming the second place $3,500 prize was Shaaliyah Lyons for her business, “Together We Conquer”.
After being asked about what is next for her company, she stated, “I am going to look for grants in secure locations. Money provides something tangible for me to get started with getting a website domain and other startup expenses. Now it is about getting [the business] running.”
Professor Susan Scherreik, Director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, reflected on the event stating, “All of our finalists did an amazing job and all of them deserved to win. Our judges really had a tough time.”
She added, “Every year the students just get better and better.”
The event turned out to be a challenging and rewarding experience for all of the students who participated.
It provided the teams with the opportunity to execute their pitches in front of an audience and accomplished entrepreneurs.
Now, the Stillman community must wait and see how their businesses prosper in the future.
FRESHMAN STILLMAN STUDENT, SKOLNICK, TAKES FIRST AT ANNUAL 2015 PIRATE’S PITCH COMPETITION
By Susan Scherreik,
Director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies
In Seton Hall University’s own version of “Shark Tank,” three student teams won $10,000 in prizes and business services at Pirates Pitch 2015, the fifth annual Seton Hall University Venture Fund Competition.
At the contest, held on April 10 in Jubilee Hall Auditorium, five student teams pitched ideas either to start a business, or to expand an existing student-run venture.
Stillman Freshman Ryan Skolnick, a member of the Leadership Development Honors Program, won the $6,000 first place award for Aveho (pronounced A-Way-Ho) Learning, a business idea to create a video-game format to teach
Chinese and other foreign languages to elementary and high school students.
The three-member team of Stillman Junior Mike Gavela, Diplomacy School Junior Brian Wreckler and Arts & Sciences Sophomore Johnil Quezada, who majors in computer science, won the $3,500 second place award for Cthroo, a business idea to develop a discovery engine based on personal data collection.
Additionally, the $500 Audience Participation Award was snagged by the two member team of Stillman School Juniors Aziz Syed and Brent Ciccarino. Their business idea, Service Station, is for a mobile and website application to help consumers find reliable contractors for home remodeling projects and car repairs.
“Pirates Pitch is a wonderful way of showcasing entrepreneurship and innovation,” said Pravina Raghavan, a Senior Advisor in the U.S. Department of Commerce and one of the contest’s judges. “It allows students to get their ideas launched in the real world while benefiting from the intense mentorship and support from Seton Hall.”
The other judges were Sunny Bathla, Vice-President, Virtusa, & Founder, OSB Consulting, Patrick Cozza, a retired group CEO at HSBC, Ray Hoffman, Producer and Host, CEO Radio on WCBS News Radio 880 and CBS Radio Network, Michael Lucciola, CEO of the Firefly Group and a Seton Hall University Regent, and Kim Wales, Founder, Wales Capital and an expert in crowd funding.
The judges evaluated the student ideas for business ventures based on several criteria, including originality, viability and growth potential.
Joyce Strawser, the Dean of the Stillman School of Business, said, “I am very impressed by the creatively and range of the ideas that were pitched this year. It is clear that the teams put a great deal of thought and research into their plans, and the quality of the actual pitch presentations was top-notch.”
She added, “I could not be more proud of our participants and the wonderful way they represent Entrepreneurship at SHU.”
“Every year, Pirates Pitch just keeps getting better and better,” remarked Susan Scherreik, Founding Director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, which sponsors the event.
She praised all five Finalist teams for their outstanding “pitches” made to the judges and an audience comprised of more than 100 students, faculty members, family members and friends.
“The judges really had a tough time selecting the winners,” she said. “Any one of our Finalist teams could have won the event.”
First place winner Ryan Skolnick reflected on the competition, “I am very excited that my business pitch was well received by the judges. The entire competition was a great experience. It provided me with an opportunity to work with mentors and refine my business idea.”
When looking towards the future, Skolnick added, “The next step will be to launch my startup and the prize money and business services I will receive as part of the award will help me to do that.”
Ideas of past winners included a solar-powered mobile phone charger specifically designed for use in developing countries, an online music data search engine, and a web-based business that seeks to make public relations and social media services more accessible to small businesses.
Based on this year’s roster of intuitive business ideas, the competition congratulates all participants, and looks forward to seeing a new set of creative ideas that would be pitched during next year’s Pirate’s Pitch competition.