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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Student entrepreneurs pitch before judges

Photos+by+Joseph+Serrata%2FThe+Collegian
Four judges sat through a variety of business pitches in which they were able to ask questions and give suggestions to the different students. The judges from left to right: Collette Portis, Becky Vela, Suzan Dick and Cathy Trinh. Photos by Joseph Serrata/The Collegian

By Juan Ibarra/campus editor

Joseph Serrata/The Collegian
Business chair Lourdes Ramboa speaks to the room as she introduces everyone to the first business pitch competition on NW. Joseph Serrata/The Collegian

A multitude of ideas were presented before the judges for the prize of $500

Giving presentations in front of a classroom is nerve-wracking for some on its own, but imagine if money was at stake.

Student entrepreneurs on NW Campus had their chance to live the fantasy of pitching to a panel of judges with their business ideas in order to win a $500 investment.

Hosted by Plan Empower Grow, the Feb. 22 event had almost a dozen students give presentations.

One of those entries was NW student Kryston Skinner, who presented her idea for Hotel Lapin. A local experience and community-driven, small-scale bed and breakfast that would help make tourists make unforgettable memories.

While on a three-month backpacking trip across Europe, Skinner took some of the experiences she had and used them to help form her idea.

“I learned a lot about different ways to enjoy traveling, instead of the traditional hotel,” she said. “This really inspired me to bring something similar back to the states.”

Photos by Joseph Serrata/The Collegian
Lead economic development specialist Ahmad Goree was the master of ceremonies. Photos by Joseph Serrata/The Collegian

PEG president Lasonya Moore thinks events like the pitch competition are helpful to every person pitching regardless of whether they win or not.

NW student Skylar Bailey’s pitch was for a family business she helps run called Strong Driver Fitness.

Her family business sells the Fitness Seat Strap, a resistance band exercise set that attaches to the seat of a truck and is being marketed to truck drivers who spend long amounts of time driving.

A panel of four judges comprised of business owners of the nearby community sat in front of the contestants.

Presenting their ideas to a board of potential investors allowed for the presenters to shake up the way they view their plans and help students think about their ideas in new ways.

“I already previously drafted a business plan about a year ago,” Skinner said. “So, it was nice to take that verbiage and apply it to a PowerPoint. It also challenged me to come up with an interactive media.”

For Strong Driver, Bailey brought in a car seat and the resistance band set to show the proof of concept at work.

“My dad, who is one of the main owners of the business, helped me prepare for everything,” Bailey said.

Photo by Joseph Serrata/The Collegian
Lasonya Moore, President of Plan Empower Grow, hosts the business pitch event. Photo by Joseph Serrata/The Collegian

After all the presenters went through their pitches and the judges tallied up the votes for each contestant, Bailey’s Strong Driver was the winner of the $500 investment. Though the experience of pitching and presenting an idea to a panel of small business owners was incentive enough for the event, there was more to gain in addition to the monetary prize.

“I learned that small businesses take time, but they can be achievable with patience and good support,” Bailey said.

While not winning, Skinner felt she had learned a lot and had become more confident with her idea after presenting it to the judges.

“I think the biggest lesson I learned is that I truly cannot make this dream a reality alone,” she said. “I need to utilize the resources around me.”

While small business conferences have occurred on NW Campus before, this was the first year that it was framed as a business pitch competition.

The hope is to create this event into an yearly tradition for students to present their ideas and practice their skills, Moore said.

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