From 12 to six

A student team pitches an idea during round 2 of the third annual Pirate Entrepreneurial Challenge (ECU Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Six teams make the final round of the Pirate Entrepreneurship Challenge

Twelve student teams with entrepreneurial aspirations recently entered round two of the third annual Pirate Entrepreneurship Challenge, the signature pitch competition of the Miller School of Entrepreneurship in ECU’s College of Business. When the night was through, six teams emerged with the hopes of winning the final round.

In October 2019, more than 120 student-led teams vied to get to the second round by garnering the favor of students who cast 3,000 votes and listened to an afternoon of pitches. The second round, held Nov. 20, 2019, saw round one winners participate in a pitch competition fashioned after a Shark-Tank-meets-The-Voice hybrid. Teams delivered their ideas to a panel of five judges who then asked questions of the teams. The judges selected who they wanted to mentor and support for the final round.

“This is the third year of the challenge and every year, I’m impressed with the diversity of students, ideas and backgrounds that participate in the challenge,” said Dr. Mike Harris, director of the Miller School of Entrepreneurship.

The third annual Pirate Entrepreneurship Challenge finalists include:

  • Fishing License U.S. (Mallory Miles and Felipe de Araujo) mentored by Ryan Butcher, entrepreneur and co-founder of eAudit
  • G-Vegas Slimes (Hannah Sanders and Curren Patton) mentored by the Miller School
  • Honest Blox (Amelia Hernandez, Seymone Gugneja, Riley Valencia, Jahina Hayes and Quint Flores) mentored by John Ciannamea, innovator-in-residence, Office of Innovation and New Ventures, ECU
  • LightsOut, LLC (Hannah Johns and Chris Lamm) mentored by Carlyle Rogers, interim executive director of innovation and new ventures, ECU
  • QuizCam for Sports (Rowe Mellot) mentored by Steven Jacobs, business counselor, Small Business Technology Development Center, ECU
  • Safe Food (Katherine Arden) mentored by Mike Aman, entrepreneur-in-residence, Miller School

The six finalists will split $2,000 equally to help them prepare for the final round, scheduled for Feb. 19, 2020, 6 p.m. in the Murphy Center.

Mentors will work with their respective teams and coach them for the finals.

Winners will receive more than $100,000 in cash prizes and in-kind services, with the first-round winner receiving $15,000.  

Today’s Leader Witnesses Tomorrow’s Leaders

The College of Business (COB) and the Miller School of Entrepreneurship also welcomed Fielding Miller to the Nov. 20 event. Miller, along with his wife Kim Grice, gave a $5 million gift to establish the Miller School in 2015 as a regional hub to prepare students to take an entrepreneurial mindset and skillset into their community. His attendance at the event marked his first opportunity to see the Pirate Entrepreneurship Challenge in action, and COB leaders presented Miller with a plaque commemorating the Miller School’s recent top 50 ranking as one of the best entrepreneurial schools in the country.

Dr. Stan Eakins presents a plaque to Fielding Miller that commemorates the Miller School being named one of the top 50 entrepreneurial schools in the country (photo by Cliff Hollis).

Pin It on Pinterest