More than 70 teams participated in the first round of the seventh edition Pirate Entrepreneurship Challengecompeting to win $170,000 in cash and in-kind in the East Carolina University College of Business Signature Pitch Competition.
Startup business ideas included waders with built-in flotation to prevent drowning for hunters and fishermen, a virtual reality rehabilitation app for injured athletes, an entertainment company designed to increase children’s confidence by interacting with their favorite costumed characters and a multi-function home health care system. device and application for caregivers.
The first round kicked off Tuesday with an outdoor exhibition at the ECU Mall. Visitors stopped by the tables to learn more about each business idea and vote for their favorites. In addition to the popular vote, secret expert judges reviewed the proposed companies and leaders from the Miller School of Entrepreneurship weighed in to determine the 12 teams that advanced to the second round, which will be held Feb. 6 at Health Sciences Student Center.
Competitors included undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students representing 41 different majors across eight colleges, and more than 1,700 votes were cast in the first round, said David Mayo, a professor at the Miller School of Entrepreneurship and organizer of the event.
Teams advancing include:
- Horizon Shield, a pedestrian safety system for intersection monitoring.
- Dude Trips, a travel company focused on creating the trip of a lifetime for men and bachelor parties, as well as corporate retreats.
- Twist-n-Surf, surf wax in a heat-resistant, eco-friendly twist stick container (like deodorant).
- PALMQUATICS, a service company that works with boat dealers and private owners to provide repair services specializing in fiberglass and gelcoat repair.
- Crossfit Greenville Kids, a place of strength and empowerment for area children.
- Moon Grips, a new universal bottle opener to facilitate the process of adhering to medication regimens.
- GRID, an all-in-one housing app for students.
- Arnold and Curtis Education Design, educational kits for teachers to introduce students of all ages to STEM and simplify the teacher experience.
- Valet, a transportation service where a driver arrives and takes the customer home in his or her own car.
- Mental Ease Kit, a service aimed at improving mental wellbeing on campus by providing items that promote mindfulness and provide resources to help students through a stressful and anxious time, in the form of a gift set or a subscription box.
- Limulus Biomedical, a company that will design, build and maintain aquaculture systems for the American horseshoe crab with the goal of sustainably collecting hemolymph.
- Talkative, a virtual reality talking environment to help speech therapists help their stuttering patients in real-world situations.
“(Speech therapy patients) are able to immerse themselves in any environment, whether it’s at the drive-thru, at the doctor’s office, in a university lecture hall or ordering from Sup Dogs,” Amber Faircloth said , doctoral student in rehabilitation sciences and member of the Talkative team. “They’re in a safe environment in the clinic room with their speech therapist, and they’re immersed in something where they can practice their strategies with the goal of hopefully desensitizing some of that social anxiety.”
Chip Galusha, interim director of the Miller School of Entrepreneurship, said the first round provides students with a great opportunity to see other students present their business ideas.
“We purposely do this one outside,” Galusha said, “so students can see their friends and see what they’re doing.” There’s no idea that it’s too new or too crazy. Go out, present it and see what happens.
Tyler Hodge, an entrepreneurship student and co-founder of Limulus Biomedical, said there is a mortality rate of up to 30 percent for wild-caught horseshoe crabs, whose blood contains a protein used in the medical industry to test bacterial contamination of injectable medications. . Through aquaculture, he and his partner Payton Cottrell hope to reduce mortality and create a more stable supply of vital proteins.
Winning the competition, Hodge said, would provide the start-up capital needed to develop the idea and make connections in the medical industry.
After the second round in February, six finalists will be selected to advance to the final round, scheduled for April 10 at the Student Center on the main campus.