It was a year of firsts for The Franz Center for Leadership, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation’s annual venture pitch competition. This year the event launched with a new name. Formerly known as the $100K Challenge, it has been rebranded as The Pilot Venture Challenge. The other first was a move to holding the competition as a live, virtual event due to the COVID-19 situation.
The competition is separated into three tracks – Invention, Social, and For-Profit. The Invention Track, which highlights creativity, invention, and innovation, was held on Saturday, April 18. The Social Track, which encourages students to use entrepreneurial and business principles to organize, create, and manage a sustainable enterprise that has a positive social impact, and the For-Profit Track were held on Saturday, April 25.
Students, judges, and guests joined online to hear and see 10-minute presentations by a total of 14 entrants. All entries were judged by expert panels of alumni and community business leaders. The winners are:
- 1st Place: Dose One Pill+, a controlled substance dispensing system to lower therisk of abuse and overdose of highly addictive medications, by Ryan Jarvis ’21
- 2nd Place: Accord On!, an interactive learning device to aid in learning to play the diatonic accordion, by Ernesto Zurita Ruiz ’21
Both winners move on to represent UP at the statewide InventOR Semi-Final Competition in June.
- 1st Place: Blossom, a curated feminine hygiene subscription service providing woman with products that are sustainable, natural, and ethical, plus a buy-one-give-one model to provide products to women’s shelters in the Portland area, by Kristen Wisneski ’20
- 2nd Place: Race for Change, a running and walking event service hosting fun runs and races to raise money to restore and preserve the environment and combat climate change, by James Parker ’21 and Griffin King ’21
- 1st Place: Backyard Brews, a craft beer brewery and taproom that offers a unique customer experience through an emphasis on local beers, food, artists, and community, by Cameron Lyons ’21 and Thomas Vogl ’21
- 2nd Place: Force Baseball, a high-tech baseball that provides analytics to maximize training and improve pitcher output, by Henry Cheney ’20, Christian Peters ’20, and Connor Knutson ’20
- 3rd Place: EcoFloss, an antibacterial and sustainable bamboo dental flosser, by Cooper Moore ’21, Travis LaFrance ’20, Kayla Benson ’21, and Trevor Baek ’20
For more information contact the Franz Center for Leadership, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation at firstname.lastname@example.org.