Three developing student businesses now have money to launch their companies as winners of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship’s (CIE) Elevator Pitch Competition Monday, Nov. 4. 

The fast-paced competition allows 10 finalists to pitch a new and innovative business idea. Each participant had 90 seconds to engage with four judges and a full crowd to select three winners — each getting up to $1000. 

“We support the promotion of startup businesses in Cal Poly and the entire [San Luis Obispo] community,” CIE event coordinator intern Olivia Van Hoy said. “We provide a support system [with] multiple workshops, workspaces and mentorships.”

Business administration freshmen and CEO of Intego Sportswear Alexandra Joelson was a first place winner. Her product pitch was for a silicone-like mold that covers the bottom of any pair of cleats to prevent wear and tear on the pegs that comes from walking on asphalt, according to Joelson. 

She said her vision was spurred from 15 years of experience in soccer with the, “frustration of constantly lugging around an extra pair of shoes,” Joelson said. 

CIE | Courtesy

Second place went to an Alan Hancock College student Tyler Little, the CEO of Jupiter Wrenches. Little’s pitch was to create a wireless, trackable toolbox that allows for rechargeable and automatic tools. 

“We’ve all had that situation where we’ve tried to get a bolt or a nut out and when it doesn’t work for us we wreck our knuckles, which I have done countless times,” Little said. “Or, we just get frustrated and angry and walk away from the situation.”

The audience choice award went to biomedical engineering junior Clara Brechtel, the co-founder of Connection Devices. The company is creating a wearable device to help therapists tailor treatment to individual patients based on the patient’s activity, Brechtel said. This device will quicken recovery and make therapy a lot more efficient as information will be automatically submitted to databases in physical therapy labs, according to Brechtel.

The competition was judged by Glenn Burdette Accounting Principal Mical Bovee, Wells Fargo District Manager Mark Corella, attorney Dallas Mosier and SESLOC Federal Credit Union Vice President Ken Long. Participants were judged based on level of engagement, knowledge and call to action.

This year’s keynote speaker was former winner and Cal Poly alumni Haley Pavone. Pavone is the CEO of Pashion Footwear, a fashion tech startup that has created the world’s first convertible heel. She won first place Cal Poly prize and the audience choice award in 2016. 

Her business is now three years into the making and has developed her innovative product’s technology, secured patent-pending status in 30 countries, executed the first round of production and raised more than $1.7 million dollars in seed funding, according to the CIE. 

“We started with this exact event,” Pavone said. “We won $1,500 here, which was fantastic .”

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