Cision PR Newswire

University of Tulsa sponsors $25,000 business pitch competition

TULSA, Okla., Nov. 20, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- The University of Tulsa's Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship and JOLT@TUBusiness came together to host the new Regent Bank Hurricane Pitch Competition on Nov. 10. This "Shark Tank-style" competition showcased student-created ideas and business ventures with the top three teams collectively winning $25,000 in cash prizes.

"What I'm seeing in them are ground-breaking ideas that can make an impact not only in Tulsa, but throughout the world."

"I cannot express how incredible our inaugural Regent Bank Hurricane Pitch Competition was," said Chris Wright, director of the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship. "The energy and support from Golden Hurricane students, faculty, staff and community partners throughout the day was amazing."

The competition, designed by faculty in UTulsa's Collins College of Business, provided students with personal and professional development through workshops and educational programming, industry-specific pitch deck mentorship and access to accomplished experts. Eighteen teams applied, and 10 were selected to pitch their plans to a panel of three judges.

The winning pitch was from Marama, led by Adriaan Lombard and James Higgs, doctoral students in the university's elite Cyber Fellows program. The team hopes to combat global food insecurity by introducing the marama bean as mainstream crop. Marama beans, native to the Kalahari Desert in Africa, grow in the driest conditions and require low farming input. Lombard and Higgs have created marama bean beverage shots in five flavors. The team won $15,000 for their pitch.

The second-place team was SkinCheck led by Julian Abhari, a senior double-majoring in computer science and cyber security, and Daniel Marques, who is starting The University of Tulsa's MBA program in January. SkinCheck app users can upload photos of skin lesions and moles to quickly determine whether they could be cancerous. They received $7,500 for their pitch.

In third place was My Gamer with Seth Hastings (MS '23), Eric Peterson (BS '21), and Corey Bolger (BS '17), all three of whom are Cyber Fellows doctoral students. My Gamer offers fans a chance to control whose perspective they watch during esports competitions. They received $2,500 for their pitch.

"It is invigorating to watch their creativity and how hard they have worked on these projects," said Regent Bank Chairman and CEO Sean Kouplen. "What I'm seeing in them are ground-breaking ideas that can make an impact not only in Tulsa, but throughout the world."

The Hurricane Pitch Competition will be held each fall, and Regent Bank has committed to a 10-year sponsorship.

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SOURCE The University of Tulsa

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