On Saturday, the 6th Annual Pitch George Elevator Competition took place in Duques Hall. Fifty teams, composed of both undergraduate and graduate students, competed to win prizes of up to $2,000 and the opportunity to advance to the semi-final round of the GW Business Plan Competition.
John W. Rollins, director of the GW Business Plan Competition, said this year’s competition was the “best so far” and that he was “blown away” by the quality of the projects presented.
The six finalists for the undergraduate competition were the following: Mobile Farmers Market, JiYeon’s Tea Thermos, CARLOS dos, CarrierPigeon, Studentstart.it, and CarneAsada. First place went to Mobile Farmers Market, 2nd place went to CarneAsada and 3rd place went to Studentstart.it. Tea Thermos won the fan favorite award.
Mobile Farmers Market, led by Lulu Ma, Felicity Xie and Lisetta Garcia, is a portable wireless app that allows entrepreneurs to sell their products where they please without being constrained by a central EBT system. Ma, Xie and Garcia came up with the idea due to the lack of mobility and flexibility for farmers to sell their products through electronic payments.
Cecilia Ramirez came in second place with her Carne Asada project—a proposal to establish the first Paraguayan restaurant in Washington, D.C. Mrs. Ramirez, a native Paraguayan, wanted to find a way to share her culture with the area and decided to create a “fast and casual” restaurant similar to that of Chipotle.
Studentstart.it founders Michael Rickert and Christina Nanfeldt came in third place. The two developed an idea to tap into the creative and entrepreneurial potential of the campus, seeking to provide students a way to get their projects off the ground. At the moment, the website is in development and the two are contemplating creating a mobile app.
Ji Yeon Jung won the fan favorite award for Tea Thermos, a prototype transparent thermos that allows for easy cleaning and is two layered to retain temperature better than the average thermos. Her next step is to find a possible manufacturer.
Dr. George Solomon of the Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence, said that the competition’s goals are to encourage research and entrepreneurship, reach out to the community, and develop research programs both within the school and outside. Solomon also noted that many of the students this year focused their business plans around apps and believes that it will be important to see if the trend continues.
Above all, he said, it was important for students to develop projects they were passionate about. “Money follows passion, passion doesn’t follow money,” Solomon said.
The competition was set up by GW’s School of Business, School of Engineering and Applied Science, the Office of Entrepreneurship, and the Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence.