08:26 AM

HCC & UST’s 2nd Annual Bold IDEAS Pitch Competition Underway

With serious prize money at stake, judges have begun to review submissions by entrepreneurial students in the second annual Bold IDEAS Pitch Competition. The exciting contest is hosted by the University of St. Thomas in partnership with Houston Community College.

Every Student is a Winner but Some Win Bigger

Sweetening the submission pot is the assurance that the first 20 contestants will receive $500.

More than 30 entrepreneurial ideas poured into the competition, which was open to individual students or teams from colleges and universities in the Greater Houston Area.

Creative submissions follow one of two allowed tracks: for-profit or not-for-profit proposals.

Finalists will proceed to the September 12 presentation competition to be judged by venture capitalists and high-profile entrepreneurs in the Houston community.

Winners of 1st, 2nd and 3rd place on each track will reap $5,000, $3,000 and $1,000 respectively.

Opening up Entrepreneurship

Director of the McNair Center for Entrepreneurship and Free Enterprise, Dr. Patrick Woock, said, “We want to open up entrepreneurship for everyone. The structure of this competition helps to serve that goal.”

The contest encourages students to bring their ideas forward and receive further inspiration. Helpful insights come through comments and mentoring from UST alumni who already have made their entrepreneurial dreams come true. Finalists will benefit from focused mentoring on further developing their ideas and how to succeed in the September presentation portion.

Underwritten by The McNair Center for Entrepreneurship and Free Enterprise, the competition reflects the center’s aims to promote micro-entrepreneurship.

De-Risking the Great Idea

Woock said, “At the Center, we take students who have never been entrepreneurs—someone who might be a little hesitant—and show them how to de-risk it. We put them in a place of safety and make them heroes. In the process, they also learn how to become proficient at online marketing.”

Woock emphasized the importance today of teaching people how to build their entrepreneurial skills so that they never feel locked into any particular job or field.

The pitch contest supports empowerment and promises to yield engaging business ideas once again. In 2019, the event awarded first prize for a plan to gamify safer driving. That student envisioned using a smartphone app designed to award cash prizes to competitors who achieved top safety scores.

Another 2019 winner proposed using deep learning algorithms to accurately classify a skin cell infected with malaria. The free web service would support early detection and save healthcare costs in affected countries.

For more information about the pitch competition, contact mcnaircenter@stthom.edu or click here.

To learn more about The McNair Center for Entrepreneurship and Free Enterprise, click here.

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