HIGH POINT, N.C., Nov. 28, 2022 – High Point University students pitched their business ideas to a panel of judges and earned start-up funds during the annual Elevator Pitch Competition on Nov. 16. This year’s judges were Kendall Holbrook, CEO for Dev Technology Group, Inc.; Timothy McLoughlin, a partner at Cofounders Capital; and Mark Prince, president and CEO for FirstPoint, Inc., and president and CEO of Greensboro Merchants Association.
The annual competition is part of HPU’s Global Entrepreneurship Week, an international initiative that introduces entrepreneurship to young people across the globe. There were 25 students competing this year for funding to launch their companies or continue working on their business plans. At the competition, four businesses were awarded with start-up funds and recognition.
Sean Martin earned first place and $8,000 for his business The Kap Popper, which was inspired by the challenges his aunt faced after suffering a stroke that led to a brain aneurysm. The Kap Popper provides a solution to opening twist-off plastic bottles for people without the ability to use both hands or with limited strength in their arms or hands.
“High Point University has provided me with so many opportunities, like the Elevator Pitch Competition, to grow as a student entrepreneur and to develop my product,” said Martin, a junior entrepreneurship student from Baltimore, Maryland. “Winning first place means a lot to me because I will now be able to take my product to the next level. I would have never been able to achieve this without the support of my fellow entrepreneurs that I have had the opportunity to look up to and learn from.”
Cameron Labrecque took home second place and earned $5,000 for his Rememery app. This app, which will launch in early 2023, is an innovative way for families to preserve their favorite memories for the next generation. He says his inspiration for the app came from a snow globe gift that his grandmother gave to his mom with a tag that said, “Remember me.”
“In that moment, I knew I had to be the one who redesigns the way we remember our loved ones forever,” said Labrecque, a senior entrepreneurship major from Newbury, Massachusetts. “High Point University’s entrepreneurship competitions have allowed me to grow as a public speaker, business professional and innovator at large. These competitions allow me to showcase growth for Rememery and my personal brand.”
Third place and $3,000 went to Lauren McAtee for her company Clean DePawsit. McAtee, who is from Raleigh, North Carolina, says her product is a retractable dog leash with a built-in waste bag dispenser and bag sealing mechanism. This prevents dog walkers from letting go of the leash when tying the waste bags.
“What inspired me to create this product was my sweet pup, Milo,” said McAtee, a senior entrepreneurship major. “One day while walking him, I tucked the leash under my arm to free up my hands to tie the waste bag, but he saw another dog across the street and took off. With the Clean DePawsit, I would have been able to keep a grip on my leash when this happened.”
Two groups went home with $1,000 each as the fourth-place winners for their business ideas. Savannah Smith, a senior entrepreneurship major from Chesterfield, Virginia, created HatEase. Smith designed an insert to go inside a ball cap, or any other hat, that remains secure during high windspeeds or high motion sports. The insert fastens into the inner brim of the hat and has a bristle, like a headband, that slides into your hair. The company QuickTag was created by students Quentin Barrial and Kelsey Barker. The lost and found QR code is an easier way to locate missing items by activating the tag, placing them on any item and then customizing your profile.
New this year, the judges awarded Ashley Adler with the Rockstar Rookie award for her company, Brella. With this award, she received $2,000 and mentorship from community leader Gary Simon, owner of Simon Jewelers in High Point.