By: Lexie Newhouse
November 30th marked the Fall 2018 H.J. Russell Center for Entrepreneurship (HJRCE) Business Model Competition! The evening was packed with pitches from our ENI 3101 student entrepreneurs. Four teams pitched in the digital displays portion of the competition while five teams competed for the grand prize of $1,500 on the main stage.
This semester’s competition was evaluated by four accomplished judges: Alexander Acosta of Soul Food Cypher, Caitlin O’Donnell Ferguson of Emory University, Tahira Joy of The Cut Life, and Dr. Nelson Pizarro of SlickyNotes and the Social Entrepreneurship program through the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies here at Georgia State.
First to present during the digital displays was Aleska Jerez Silva and Aaron Stuart of Circa Consulting, an accounting and management services firm for construction business owners. Compared to a traditional management and accounting services firm, Circa Consulting offers 90-95 percent of its services remotely to create a convenient experience for its clients. Having acquired and successfully served their first ongoing business client, Circa Consulting is now primed to grow.
Edwin Ayala of The Fragrance Boss was next to share his business. Through his profitable cologne distribution channels, Ayala already has a thriving business and is committed to continue to attend to the underserved members of the Hispanic community.
Dia Davis, Nicketa Demetrius, Cora Hardrick, Jalen Hollingsworth, Kerah Jones and Aaron Webster of Painted Silhouette Swimwear followed with a customized swimwear line aimed towards pageant contestants and women wanting a quality fit. Using technology to increase the accuracy of measurements and eliminate the hassles of alterations from traditional retailers and high-end designer brands, Painted Silhouette provides an online and affordable solution. Having acquired their first investor, designed their first line, secured an international manufacturing contract, landed their first prominent spokesperson, and filmed their first commercial, Painted Silhouette Swimwear continues to move forward to launch in 2019.
Francesca Deckert of Raine Clothing pitched her own solution to the fashion industry as the final pitch of the digital displays. This streetwear brand focuses on style, quality and price through its carefully curated designs where substantive clothing apparel meets sacred geometry.
Karim Badani, Stephen Eller, Daniel Smith and Sebastian Sung of DrinksDelivered kicked off the main pitch presentations portion of the competition. Their concept focuses on helping local micro-breweries right size their business by creating a two-way channel allowing them to distribute excess inventory through “last mile shipping” services bringing the micro-brewery experience at home, and inviting customers to come in person during down times. The DrinksDelivered app is a plug-in technology solution that helps brewers navigate the legal and operational complexities of meeting the needs of today’s beer enthusiasts.
Next to present was Mutahir Chaudhry, Courtney Verdree, Po Le and Aymar Whitsett of Streams Over Seas (S.O.S.), an international bar concept offering high quality streaming entertainment from around the globe to cater to Atlanta’s diversely cultured community. In the US, dining and carry out is a $5 billion industry with $400 million in alcohol sale where S.O.S. anticipates leveraging this large market and adding a cultural component by featuring sporting events from around the globe.
Erin Baule, Tom Baumgaertel and Jaynis Chan of Time-Out followed with their committed to creating deeper, daily interactions for young adults by reducing excessive social media usage while gaining rewards, control and scheduled meetups with friends and family. This free app also encourages community connections by partnering with local shops and restaurants as meeting points to encourage face-to-face interactions while supporting small businesses.
Sigourney Chavez, Rosemary Somefun and Joshua Akinola-King of ZenPod pitched their solution to awkward schedule gaps and students’ constant need to relax and refresh. This pod space brings privacy, quietness, sanitary conditions and safety into one place where students can do homework, relax and sleep on campus. It features hardware such as charging ports, Bluetooth speakers, reclining chairs, fold down desks and dimming lights.
To close out the evening, Christian Childers, Ryan Lowe and Layth Rustom of TextNext pitched their marketplace concept leveraging proximity and scale to sell used textbooks and “send your textbook into its next life.” Assuming that only 20,000 students utilize the TextNext platform to resell one book each at an average resale price of $60 with 10 percent commission, they are expecting $120,000 in revenue per semester.
After much the debate, the judges finally reached a consensus. ZenPod placed placed first with the $1,500 grand prize, Time-Out won second with the $1,000 prize. By popular vote, Painted Silhouette Swimwear took home the $500 Special Award acknowledging the team having demonstrated the most traction in their venture.
Tune in next semester for the Spring 2019 HJRCE Business Model Competition!
Will you be crowned the next panther-preneur?