Six Finalists Named for 2023 'Rise to the Challenge' Business Competition
March 13, 2023
Contact: Office of Advancement and External Relations
Judges representing the University of Baltimore's Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation have selected six businesses as finalists for the upcoming "Rise to the Challenge" Pitch Competition. The annual event, now in its 11th year and scheduled for April 27, provides an opportunity for members of the greater UBalt community to pitch ideas and concepts for new and existing businesses before a live audience of their peers, supporters and entrepreneurial experts from the Baltimore community.
This year's panel, consisting of undergrads, graduate students and alumni, will compete in two separate business categories: Aspiring Business Ventures and Existing Business Ventures. At stake is nearly $30,000 in seed money and in-kind professional services.
The 2023 finalists and their businesses in the Aspiring Business Ventures category are:
- Serena Brontide, Synapse Collective, makers of "Rooms," an interactive online learning platform that uses 3D technology to create an immersive experience.
- Tyeisha Pinnock, Dip'T, a line of vegetarian food for people who love to try new snacks, and who love to support locally made products.
- Jonah Willard, Grease Garage, a DIY auto shop for car enthusiasts that also offers skills training to underserved people in the area.
The finalists and businesses in this year's Existing Business Ventures category are:
- Mario Izquierdo, Limitir, a 3D-printed auto parts marketplace where customers can download car parts, saving time and money.
- Joanne Jones, Kenyan Kutie, which imports and sells authentic, vibrant jewelry made by entrepreneurs in Kenya and donates 10 percent of net sales to a non-profit in Kenya.
- Angel Wilson, Silent Books Publishing, a minority-owned business for aspiring and seasoned minority authors that offers a variety of self-publishing services.
This dynamic group will present before a live audience and a panel of expert judges, representing the local business ecosystem who will band together to select the winners.
"As always, I was impressed by the diversity of the submissions and the breadth of this year's applicants, who hail from all corners of the UBalt community," said Henry Mortimer, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. "It's exciting to see so 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 in late April. This is shaping up to be our best pitch competition yet."
The "Rise to the Challenge" competition, sponsored by UB's Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and designed to generate awareness of new and emerging innovative business ventures nurtured by the UB community, is scheduled for Thursday, April 27, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Registration is required to attend.
The University of Baltimore's Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, named one of the Baltimore Business Journal's "Top Incubators and Accelerators for 2019," directs support and assistance to UBalt students and alumni interested in building or growing an enterprise.