Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of ECU News Services. The author of this post is Michael Rudd.
Chancellor Philip Rogers takes a selfie with Mason Carron during the Pirate Entrepreneurship Challenge. (Photo by Rhett Butler)
A brisk breeze didn't cool the spirits of more than 50 teams vying to win the sixth annual Pirate Entrepreneurship Challenge (PEC), which kicked off Tuesday on East Carolina University's mall.
The PEC is ECU's premier pitch competition where student teams showcase their business ideas and vie for more than $150,000 in cash and in-kind services. The student-led teams started the three-round process of pitching and judging in an open-air format. Contestants pitched their ideas to anyone who stopped by a team's table, and if so inclined, visitors were able to vote for a team via a QR code.
After more than 1,400 votes were cast, reviews were submitted by expert judges, and Miller School of Entrepreneurship leaders weighed in, 12 teams advanced to the second round.
The teams include:
- B4DCU, a merchandise company whose clients will feel like part of a family.
- Black and Blue Boxing, a traditional boxing gym to be located in Greenville.
- Calico Cat Café, a feline care center featuring a variety of therapeutic and creative resources.
- Designs by Lyd, a purpose-driven clothing brand.
- Disc Dawg, an autonomous disc golf cart designed to carry users and a cooler.
- Flourish Fitness, an integrated physical and mental wellness space.
- Foisy's, an alcoholic beverage company with a sweeter taste and high alcohol content.
- Fosterline Support, an organization that creates a universal background check process to find short-term, affordable childcare for foster families.
- Invenire, a company that aims to create a virtual experience that allows users to learn from, interact with and visit museums.
- Myles Jaden, a fashion designer.
- RiBreadCo, a sustainable fashion brand.
- RSC Fit, a consulting business that customizes workout plans that meet the client's fitness goals.
Since the Pirate Challenge's inception, David Mayo, the event organizer, has emphasized that the competition be open to all ECU students. That message continues to resonate across campus. This year's semifinalists include teams from five ECU colleges: Business, Engineering and Technology, Fine Arts and Communications, Health and Human Performance, and the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences.
"The first round of the sixth annual Pirate Challenge showcased diverse ideas and delivered excitement to students across campus,"
said Mayo. "Our students showed they want to change their communities and the world with their ideas."
"Since its inception, the Pirate Challenge has embraced the spirit of one ECU,"
said Dr. Dennis Barber III, acting director of the Miller School of Entrepreneurship. "Annually, we have the opportunity to showcase the entrepreneurial spirit found not only on campus but in our community. Doing so will entrench ECU's important role in transforming eastern North Carolina."
For the second round of the competition, scheduled for Jan. 25 at 6 p.m. in Ballroom A of the Main Student Center, the semifinalists will have five minutes to pitch their business ideas to a group of expert judges. After a question-and-answer session, six finalists will move to the final round, scheduled for April 6 at 6 p.m. in the Murphy Center's Harvey Hall.