Published: November 16, 2018
University of Tampa graduate students Emilia Meo and Zac Herman were selected as the first place team in the 2018 CREATE Business Idea Pitch Competition Finals on Nov. 2 coordinated through the Sykes College of Business’ Lowth Entrepreneurship Center.
Meo and Herman showcased their business idea, SEED Classroom, which is a mobile application that allows teachers to utilize mobile devices as a tool for education, while ensuring that students are on task. In this application, teachers are notified when students have left the SEED app and have opened a new one. This holds students accountable throughout the day. Additionally, SEED functions as a live hall pass. The program is meant to create a productive learning environment and ensure students are engaged in the classroom.
“We are extremely proud to say SEED Classroom is fully developed, available in iOS and Android stores and ready to be piloted in middle and high schools in our area,” said Meo, who teaches 10th grade English at Brooks DeBartolo Collegiate High School. “We have learned entrepreneurship is a process, and it takes time and patience. We are looking forward to seeing where SEED takes us this upcoming year and beyond.”
The annual CREATE (Creating Real Entrepreneurial Actions Through Education) competition is open to all UT students who have an idea they believe can become a real business. Students with the best business concepts are selected from a preliminary round to go through an eight-week entrepreneurial boot camp.
This year, 10 startup business ideas were selected and pitched by graduate and undergraduate students within the University. After participating in the eight-week boot camp and competing against the 11 aspiring entrepreneurs in the final round, SEED Classroom emerged as the winner of the competition, receiving a cash prize of $3,000.
“We are very grateful for the CREATE competition, and it has opened so many doors for us just in the past few months. We loved the fact that we could share our idea with our UT peers and through this process, we feel as though we have been able to master our pitch,” said Meo.
Second place went to graduate student Ryan Poholek’s business idea, Restoring Value, which aims to alleviate loneliness amongst the elderly by pairing them with a high school student who seeks community service hours. The idea is meant to build a mutually beneficial relationship between a student and elderly person. Poholek received $2,000 for second place.
Finally, graduate student Stephen Pearse’s product idea, The Tieback Hat, took third place and received $1,000.
All of the winners in the competition are in their first semester of UT’s master’s in entrepreneurship program.
“The best thing about the CREATE competition is seeing the progress the students make from their original pitch to the finals,” said Kevin Moore, assistant professor of management. “The program really helps solidify their ideas.”
For more information about CREATE, contact Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org.