Photo by Kelly Krivicich

First “Pitch” Competition Rewards Student Innovators

May 31, 2011

Athens, Ohio - On May 13th, the Center for Entrepreneurship at Ohio University held its first annual “Pitch Us Your Plan” competition as part of the Ohio University Student Expo 2011: Envision and Evolve.  The competition recognized student innovations and business ideas.  Aspiring entrepreneurs from ten student teams competed for cash prizes before a panel of distinguished judges who included David Wilhelm, Partner of Woodland Venture Management, Ohio University alum, and Visiting Professor at the Voinovich School,  and Joseph Flynn, Senior Vice President of Community Development at WesBanco, Inc.

“This was a blast!  All of the presentations from ten student entrepreneur teams were very impressive, and we are already looking forward to holding more of these competitions in coming years,” said Lynn Gellermann, Executive Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, moments before announcing these years’ top prize-winners.

The five hundred dollar Grand Prize went to the company FlareCode, which proposes a ‘disruptive technology’ that will revolutionize online digital content for smartphones.  Represented in the competition by juniors Ian Bowman-Henderson and Niklos Salontay, the company includes five Ohio University students with diverse backgrounds from computer programming to journalism.  As the winner, FlareCode will present to Ohio University’s TechGROWTH Ohio program for potential additional funding.

Second place went to Avionics graduate student Chad Mourning and his team for an innovation in digital cockpit analytic tools for small aircraft.  Their device presents visual representation of wake turbulence affecting small aircraft, markedly improving aviation safety.

Third place went to “Camelittle,” a children’s television show, which will be the first animated series on WOUB.  Show producer senior Ryan Etter said his team will use the prize money to hold a benefit for the Make A Wish Foundation, at which they will premiere the television series.

In addition to Mr. Wilhelm, Mr. Flynn, and Mr. Gellermann the five-member judges’ panel included the Ohio University Director of Technology Transfer, Robert Silva, and the Director of TechGROWTH Ohio, John Glazer.

Mr. Wilhelm praised all competition participants:  “Everybody was a winner. Every single person who presented exhibited such passion and deep knowledge that I almost hate to pick the finalists. There really were no losers today.”