Finalists Announced for UB's 2020 'Rise to the Challenge' Business Pitch Competition
March 12, 2020
Contact: Office of Government and Public Affairs
Judges representing the University of Baltimore's Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation have selected seven businesses as finalists for the upcoming "Rise to the Challenge" Pitch Competition. The annual event, now in its eighth year, provides an opportunity for members of the greater UB community to pitch ideas and concepts for new and existing businesses before a live audience of their peers, UB staff and entrepreneurial experts.
This year, a panel consisting of undergrads, grad students and alumni will compete in two separate business categories at the live competition on April 29, for more than $20,000 in seed money and in-kind professional services. Judges representing the local business ecosystem and the UB community will join together to select the winners.
This spring's finalists and their businesses are:
Aspiring Business Ventures:
- Isaac Loyal, who will be pitching GoTruckYourself, a mobile application to help food lovers follow, connect with and locate food truck owners in their area in real-time.
- Kevin McHugh, B.S. '19, whose startup Bloom Box, a subscription service offering microgreen seeds and planting materials, aims to provide people living in urban and confined spaces an opportunity to garden.
- Nicole Mighty, founder of Spiked Orchids, an upcycling fashion brand that supports the local market and seeks to help solve sustainability issues through the reuse of materials.
- Torianne Montes-Schiff, who created Almano, a subscription box service featuring handmade goods from local artisans, including jewelry, art prints, natural health/beauty care products, and seasonal herbs.
Existing Business Ventures:
- Brian Furr, founder of Mindful Designs, which manufactures "My Furr's Guitar" to aid early childhood development by teaching music through a simple, color-coded system.
- Adrian Nelson, B.S. '16, whose company, Nail Quail, is the maker of Strong Will, a natural product to help people with a nail-biting habit stop and regain confidence, comfort, and nail health.
- James Soldinger, M.S. '17, who is pitching Flave, a mobile app that uses gamification and personalized content to encourage consumers to eat at local dining establishments.
Henry Mortimer, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, said this year's competitors excel in both the range and extent of their products and services.
"I'm overwhelmed by the quality of the submissions and the breadth of this year's applicants, who hail from all corners of the UB community. It's exciting to see the many unique ideas put forth by our students and alumni, and an honor to support their efforts through the CEI. I imagine the judges are going to have their work cut out for them on competition night. This is shaping up to be our best pitch competition yet.”
The "Rise to the Challenge" competition will take place on Wednesday, April 29, beginning at 5:30 p.m. in the Wright Theater in the UB Student Center, 21 W. Mt. Royal Ave. The event is free and open to the public. Event registration is available here.
"Rise to the Challenge," sponsored by UB's Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, is designed to generate awareness of new and emerging innovative business ventures nurtured by the UB community. Learn more about the competition.
The University of Baltimore's Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation was named one of the Baltimore Business Journal's "Top Incubators and Accelerators for 2019." The center directs support and assistance to UB students and alumni interested in building or growing an enterprise. The center achieves its goals through support, culture, events, education and research, and connecting with the business
The University of Baltimore is a member of the University System of Maryland and comprises the College of Public Affairs, the Merrick School of Business, the UB School of Law and the Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences.