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Published: February 28, 2024

UT Hosts the Governor’s Cup Entrepreneurship Contest, Places Third

The University of Tampa's John P. Lowth Entrepreneurship Center, within the Sykes College of Business, hosted 10 colleges and universities from around the state in the Governor's Cup entrepreneurship pitch competition on Saturday, Feb. 24.

UT Hosts the Governor’s Cup Entrepreneurship Contest, Places ThirdThe winners of the Governor’s Cup 2024, which was hosted at The University of Tampa. Photo courtesy of the Lowth Center

Morgan Bierbrunner represented UT, securing third place and a $2,000 prize for her company, Rush Power, which aims to revolutionize personal fitness routines with a unique line of pre-workout gummies.

The competition showcased exceptional entrepreneurial talent from students pitching their products and businesses to a panel of judges who evaluated the ideas for content, viability and investment potential.

Rebecca White, the James W. Walter Distinguished Chair of Entrepreneurship, director of the entrepreneurship center and professor of entrepreneurship, commended the participants.

"The Governor's Cup continues to be a testament to the vibrant spirit of innovation that thrives within our state. While we are especially proud of Morgan's achievement, it's exhilarating to see such groundbreaking ideas from all the participating institutions,” White said.

Happyson Kaunda from Florida Southern College won the Governor’s Cup with his innovative startup, Tafika Tickets, which addresses the critical need for digital technology in Zambia's intercity bus travel industry, spotlighting the transformative potential of digital solutions in emerging markets. Tafika Tickets is an online ticketing platform that simplifies bookings and enhances the travel experience. Kaunda's victory earned him a $5,000 prize.

Second place and $3,000 was awarded to Thomas Sear of Florida Gulf Coast University, who introduced Bite Belt, a novel solution for transporting fishing gear safely and efficiently.

The other participating colleges and universities were: Stetson University, University of Florida, Florida State University, Florida Atlantic University, University of South Florida, University of Miami and University of Central Florida.

"Hosting the Governor's Cup is an honor that highlights the excellence of our entrepreneurship education and the remarkable talent it attracts,” said Frank Ghannadian, dean of the Sykes College of Business. “This competition is a cornerstone of our commitment to fostering the next generation of business leaders. We are incredibly proud of all the participants and look forward to the innovative ventures they will lead."

Bierbrunner, too, is excited for the future.

“It was amazing to represent the University of Tampa in the Governor's Cup,” she said. “I am super excited for the ways this is going to help my company. This will be the first of many competitions, so I’m looking forward to bringing more wins for the University of Tampa.”

For further information, contact Bert Seither, manager of operations at the Lowth Entrepreneurship Center, at

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