Student entrepreneurs with 15 new business ideas will pitch their plans virtually Wednesday, April 22, for a top prize of $10,000 when Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education hosts its State System Startup Challenge, formerly the Business Plan Competition.
Among the finalists include Kutztown University’s Shayla Scallorn, a social media theory and strategy major from Red Lion, Pa. Scallorn will present her business idea of an Anthology Marketing Studio.
The entire event is being held from 6-8 p.m. virtually for the first time as organizers protect the health and safety of all participants due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The winner will receive $10,000 to help start their business, thanks to sponsorship from PSECU, while second and third place will receive $5,000 and $2,500 respectively. Fourth place will receive $1,000, and $500 will go to fifth place. Competitors in a one-minute pitch contest will compete for a top prize of $350 with $150 going to second place.
“Pennsylvania’s economy will recover from after the COVID-19 pandemic, and it will do so by virtue of bright entrepreneurial minds like these students,” State System Board of Governors Chair Cindy Shapira said. “The State System Startup Challenge provides out-of-the-classroom, real life experience that will prepare students for what awaits them in their career.”
“Faculty, staff, and students have gone to extraordinary lengths to keep the State System moving forward during this coronavirus pandemic, and the StartUp Competition is an important example of that resilience,” Chancellor Dan Greenstein said. “This competition will help launch the next generation of entrepreneurs, so I want to congratulate everyone for reaching this milestone and wish you the best of luck with the competition.”
The finalists competing for the top five prizes are:
- Alex Dalton and Joseph Seyoum, California University of Pennsylvania: FINFO
- Erik Diener, East Stroudsburg University: Mite Fight
- Nick Howard, Clarion University: Nick’s Buffalo Chicken Dip
- Shayla Scallorn, Kutztown University: Anthology Marketing Studio
- Sammie Schlak, Clarion University: Sassy Girl
The finalists in the one-minute elevator pitch contest includes:
- Stephen Baker, Millersville University: Vocal Progression Studio
- Avery Eddy, Lock Haven University: Spray Foam Weed
- Timothy Fetterman, West Chester University: U-App
- Matthew Hummel, Katelyn Griffiths, Jake Latchum, Jesse Johnson, Bloomsburg University: 3D Printer Prosthetics
- Faith Irwin, Millersville University: Living Faith
- Taylor Mahan, Clarion University: TNT Silicon
- Mae McGrath, Lock Haven University: The Eagles Diner
- Jacob Neubaum and Matthew Spencer, West Chester University: HonestVote
- James Sabo, Bloomsburg University: Royalty Sports
- Laura Saria, East Stroudsburg University: TACK
Winners will be announced the same night as the competition. Judges for the competition will be Sherri Collins, deputy secretary for the Office of Technology and Innovation at the state Department of Community and Economic Development; Michael Gildea, founder and CEO of Brain Gain LLC; Michelle James, senior business development manager for PSECU; Laura Potthoff, director of business and workforce development, Cumberland Area Economics; and Clair Weigle III, district office manager for state Rep. Kate Klunk.
Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education oversees 14 four-year public universities educating more than 95,000 students. The State System offers more than 2,300 degrees and certificates in more than 530 academic areas. The State System universities are Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester universities of Pennsylvania.