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The Cardinal’s 2019 season may have just started, but it wasn’t baseballs being pitched Saturday, March 30, at Busch Stadium. Instead, 10 college students from across the U.S. and Canada and 10 local high school students gathered in National Car Rental Club overlooking Homeplate to pitch their business ideas to local business executives and potential investors.
“These students are solving real consumer problems with real business ideas,” said Mark Higgins, Ph.D., Edward Jones Dean of SLU’s Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business. “Our goal through these competitions is to connect budding entrepreneurs with mentors and potential investors while providing some seed money to help propel their ideas into full-fledged startups.”
Saturday’s pitch deck competitions were sponsored by SLU’s Chaifetz Center for Entrepreneurship. The event was the final of three competitions the Chaifetz Center hosts each year to foster entrepreneurship among young people while connecting young entrepreneurs with the St. Louis business community.
Saturday’s finalists were selected from nearly 100 first round submissions. Six winners walked away with more than $15,000 in cash prizes, but the connections finalists made with local business leaders may prove most valuable to future business development for the region.
Cassandra Davis, a master of engineering student at Washington University in St. Louis, took home the top $5,000 prize at the 5th annual Pitch and Catch competition. Her business pitch for a sterile, disposable light to aid surgeons in performing abdominal procedures edged out other bio-medical start-up ideas from students at University of Virginia and Waterloo University, in Ontario, Canada, and has a U.S. patent pending.
Ian Crossey, a junior at Priory High School, won the high school Angels in the Outfield competition with his carpooling app for high school students. It integrates with school class and activity calendars to allow students to offer and request rides while earning community service hours. Crossey has already developed a minimum viable product version of the app that is already available in the Apple Appstore.