Future entrepreneurs descended on St. Petersburg College Seminole Campus on Thursday, April 27 for the seventh annual Business Plan and Elevator Pitch Competition. Students competed for more than $10,000 in prize money.
The competition is broken up into the Business Plan Competition, with a first prize of $5,000, and the Elevator Pitch Competition, which has a first prize of $1,000. Second place awards are $2,500, and $500, respectively. The other awards given during the competition include the Golden Fund Triple Bottom Line Award ($1,000), Food and Beverage Business Concept ($250), Green Business Concept ($250), and the people’s choice award ($250), which is picked live by the audience during the ceremony.
The Business Plan Competition winner is William McMillan. McMillan started his education at the St. Petersburg College Tarpon Springs Campus, and is now an online student since he moved to North Carolina to start his business. He presented a business plan for Coastal Grown Farms, of which he is a co-founder. Coastal Grown Farms provides hydroponically grown fruits and vegetables in Jacksonville, North Carolina. McMillan was confident in his pitch. While he was on stage, he remained focused on his message, and the problem his business hoped to solve.
“SPC has given me the foundation of what to look for in a business,” McMillan said.
The winner of the Elevator Pitch Competition and the People’s Choice Award was Erica Sager. She was pitching her plan for a charity, Color of the Case. Her plan is to sell artistic phone cases to support a worthy cause. Sager was well prepared for the evening’s competition. She said that she practiced every night with her family playing the role of the judges.
Emelle Turceren won second place in the business plan competition pitching Lunar Leather. Turceren already serves customers with custom leather goods at Sunset on Pier 60, and plans to use the prize money towards engraving equipment and other tools to expand her business. Other winners included:
- Ashley Wehse won the Golden Fund Triple Bottom Line Award.
- Merrie Pina won the Food and Beverage Business Concept Award.
- Marquis Matt won the Green Business Concept Award.
This year’s awards were made possible through the hard work of members of the Seminole Campus CEO Entrepreneurship club, faculty and the staff in the Entrepreneurship Program, as well as supporters in the local business community.
See more photos on the college’s Facebook page.