The final round of the eighth annual Pirates Pitch competition was held on April 6 in the Jubilee Auditorium. Sponsored by the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies in the Stillman School of Business, the contest began in January and concluded with a panel of judges selecting the victors.
Professor Susan Scherreik, who is the founding director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, provided details about the competition and its founding.
“The Center for Entrepreneurial Studies started the competition eight years ago to provide SHU students with a forum to showcase their entrepreneurial efforts. The competition is open to all SHU students – undergraduate and graduate students,” Scherreik explained in an email.
Scherreik mentioned that SHU students who participate in Pirates Pitch have access to a number of resources.
“The process begins in January, when we hold a series of workshops on the contest, as well as work in cooperation with Space 154 to hold workshops on the different aspects of entrepreneurship, such as creating a business logos, creating a prototype and creating videos for Kickstarter campaigns,” she said. “We also provide intensive mentoring to all our students who seek guidance in the startup development process,” she continued.
This year, Madison Schott, a senior mathematical finance and marketing major, was the first place winner and received a prize of $7,000. She created an app for book recommendations.
“My business, Trenditure, is a mobile application that recommends books based on topics that are currently trending on Twitter. I have always loved to read and have recently seen all of my peers who were fooled by fake news on Twitter,” Schott wrote in an email.
Schott created the idea by considering the validity that books provide.
“I figured there had to be a way for them to educate themselves using a reliable resource,” she said. “That is when I came up with the idea of Trenditure. Books are the one source I feel we can rely on because of their in-depth analysis on topics. They usually have a bunch of resources backing up their information, or even their opinions, unlike fake news from the media.”
Schott will now compete in UPITCH NJ 2018, a statewide collegiate startup that will be held at Montclair State University on April 20.
Seniors Nasima Nagim, an accounting and finance major and Walla Elshekh, a political science major, were the winners of both the $4,500 second place award and the $500 Audience Choice Award for their business, TAHIRA.
“Our idea, TAHIRA, is a professional clothing company for modest women. We plan on providing Muslim women and others interested in modest fashion with modest, fashionable professional attire,” Elshekh said in an email.
Elshekh and her friend, Nagim, created the idea in sight of their frustration with professional clothing options.
“Last semester, my friend Nasima and I were discussing our frustrations with current professional clothing options,” Elshekh said. “We both had internships last semester and talked about how difficult it is to dress professionally for work and still feel comfortable, confident, and modest. We spoke with both our Muslim and non-Muslim friends and realized they too felt the same way. From there we decided to take matters into our own hands and design modest work options for women like ourselves.”
“Our goal for this project is to empower women by giving them the tools they need to achieve their professional aspirations. We plan on creating a modest clothing line that includes blouses, blazers, pants, skirts, and jumpsuits. InshAllah (God-willing) we will launch early next year!”
Patrick Burd, a senior marketing and management major, received third-place honors for his pitch of Classic Soccer Cleats, which is an online vendor of classic-style soccer cleats.
Scherreik mentioned that the students who participate in Pirates Pitch benefit a great deal from the experience.
“The contest has been a very big success, and it is a terrific motivation for SHU students to develop business ideas, or if they have an existing business, to submit a plan to expand their business,” Scherreik said. “Our independent panel of judges are alumni entrepreneurs and friends of the University. They judge the student teams on innovation, whether their team as the background and expertise to launch or grow the startup and their business planning showing the steps and strategies they have developed to make their business a success.”
Kaitlyn Quinn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.