Eve Barrett, a student in St. Petersburg College’s Public Policy and Administration program, pitched the winning plan for the grand prize at SPC’s College of Business‘s Business Plan and Elevator Pitch Competition on Thursday, April 19 at the Seminole Campus Digitorium. The annual event features entrepreneurship students who vie to become competition winners for cash prizes donated by local businesses and college partners.
Barrett, a court reporter for 20 years and a reporting firm owner for 12, took home the grand prize of $5000, donated by Great Bay Distributors. Her pitch explained her mobile application platform, Expedite, which connects attorneys and paralegals with litigation support services like court reporters, videographers, interpreters, video conferencing techs, notaries public and couriers.
“Attorneys and paralegals have very busy calendars,” Barrett said. “Scheduling support services for trials, hearings and depositions often falls through the cracks. I knew there had to be a more efficient method of securing providers. Thus, Expedite was conceived.”
The contestants are provided mentors, who listen and guide them through the process of developing a plan for their businesses. Barrett said the value of the competition has proven priceless for her.
“My mentor, Professor Panuthos, is attentive and truly makes you feel like your product is the next million-dollar idea,” she said. “Her constant guidance and encouragement bolsters self-confidence, and her sage advice about our next product, ExpeditePro, allowed us to pivot at the eleventh hour and ultimately saved us from releasing a deficient product.”
Feedback from the judges may sting at times, but Barrett said it was also very helpful.
“The judges’ objective feedback offers contestants the opportunity to learn tips and tricks from the best in the business,” Barrett said. “They may be tough with their comments and questions, but it pushes you to step outside the box and realize that comfort is the enemy of progress.”
Mentor, Professor and Event Organizer Nicolle Panuthos believes that the experiential learning, mentoring and networking students gain by participating surpasses traditional classroom experiences.
“When students compete in our Business Plan and Elevator Pitch Competition, they receive feedback and gain insights from an entire team of business professionals and faculty,” Panuthos said. “Their network is expanded and so are their horizons, as they awaken to greater possibilities not only for their business concepts, but also for their own potential.”
The winner of the Elevator Pitch Competition also took home the People’s Choice award: Clifford Hobbs’ animated presentation of his business, Grubs on Dubs, explained a plan that features fresh, locally grown greens, meal plans and a healthy beverage truck. Runner up for the Elevator Pitch was Alex Matos, who is seeking a bachelor’s degree in Management and Organizational Leadership. Matos took home $500 donated by Superior Uniform Group, for his presentation on his business, Paseo Consulting, which offers website optimization. Business Plan runner up Ashley Brown started her business, Collision Creations, when she was 17 years old. Brown uses scrap metal from her father’s body shop to create art, which she hopes to produce on a large scale, as well as on demand.
Panuthos said the quality of work she saw from all of the contestants was impressive.
“The presentations were exceptional, and the students dedicated a tremendous amount of time and effort in preparing,” Panuthos said. “They demonstrated a great deal of creativity and professionalism on stage.”
Since winning the competition, Barrett already sees many opportunities opening up in the days ahead.
“A veteran-based entrepreneurship program has reached out to me,” she said. “And I will also be attending an open casting call for Shark Tank this week in Atlanta. We are also launching Scoof, a sidekick to Expedite, on May 3. The Business Plan & Elevator Pitch Competition is opening minds and doors, but most importantly, is making dreams come true. I am forever grateful.”
See more photos from the event and of the competition winners on the college’s Facebook page.
8th Annual Business Plan & Elevator Pitch