The Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship held its bi-quarterly entrepreneurial event Nov. 16 in the Performing Arts Center Pavilion.
Hosted by the center’s co-founder and Cal Poly entrepreneurship professor, Jonathan York, the entrepreneurship forum featured the finals of an elevator pitch competition, as well as a panel discussion about the future of entertainment media.
York said he was most excited about the pitch competition, which showcased top student contestants attempting to sell potential investors and partners on their business ideas in 90 seconds or less.
“This elevator pitch just highlights some incredible ingenuity among Cal Poly students that not everyone knew was there,” York said after the competition. “There are a hundred and some people in here from outside Cal Poly who are just blown away with what they just heard.”
The competition featured a total of 10 participants vying for prizes in four different categories: Freshman, “Idea Cloud,” “Launch Pad” and Audience Choice. Products proposed included a magnetic cello (viewed more than 60,000 times on YouTube), an online television station, portable shots of alcohol and a bee infestation defense system.
Biomedical engineering graduate student Marcus Foley won first place in both the “Idea Cloud” category and the Audience Choice contest for his blood-brain barrier pharmaceutical testing proposal. Foley’s idea, which he said strives to stop animal testing with pharmaceuticals, netted him a total of $1,500.
But, Foley said the earnings were not a big deal.
“The prize money is just part of it,” Foley said. “(The competition) has been great, and the networking opportunities here have been better than any of us expected.”
Foley said he intends to create working prototypes in the coming months and to enter the entrepreneurship center’s “Innovation Quest” in the spring, which will allow him to make in-depth presentations to venture capitalists.
In addition to Foley’s creation, a pledge-based book publishing system and a postpartum hemorrhage treatment device won first place prizes.
Manufacturing engineering freshman Christopher Pagador claimed the $500 Freshman Award for the publishing system, and biomedical engineering senior Davis Carlin took home $1,000 for winning the “Launch Pad” category.
Following the elevator pitches, York moderated a panel of six executives in the entertainment media industry. The entertainment business insiders ranged from film producers to game developers and even included a radio station founder.
The panel spoke about economic shifts in entertainment media, shared their experiences from inside the industry and fielded questions from the audience. Focal points of the discussion included livestreaming of content, subscription service business models and social media.
Owner and executive producer of Meridian Filmworks Phillip Moses advised young entrepreneurs to focus on the business side of the entertainment industry.
“If anyone wants to be a movie mogul, take a marketing class, not a film class, and build a brand,” Moses said.
Entrepreneurship center outreach manager and business administration senior Chris Petersilge said the panel discussion offered a great opportunity for current students.
“It was a great way for students to get in touch with community members and industry leaders in the entertainment industry and really see where the future of film and tv and gaming is going,” Petersilge said.
At the conclusion of the forum, attendees toured an interactive maze presented by Cal Poly’s Expressive Technology Studios.
Food and drinks were offered to everyone at the event and attendance was free.