Seven collegiate innovators from West Virginia University with unique product ideas showcased their work in the second annual ZinnStarter Manufactured Products Pitch Competition. Hosted by the WVU Morris L. Hayhurst LaunchLab, the event was held virtually on October 7, 2021.
Supported by Silicon Valley CEO Ray Zinn, the ZinnStarter Manufactured Products Pitch Competition gave participants an opportunity to win $5,000 in cash prizes to fund their product ideas, and a network of resources to support their ground-breaking ventures.
The seven finalists were given five minutes to pitch their product concepts and a five minute question-and-answer session with a judging panel comprised of industry professionals.
- First place ($2500 prize) & Audience Choice ($250 prize): Emma Adams is a Mangement major in the John Chambers College of Business and Economics at WVU. Her product idea,“PetRecord,” provides universal medical records for pets in emergency situations.
- Second place ($1500 prize): Lauren Sobek is a Dental Hygiene major from the School of Dentistry at West Virginia University. Her product idea, “SmileGrips,” provides an aesthetically pleasing and physically beneficial lift to dental gear.
- Third place ($1000 prize): The duo of Emmy Severs, a John Chambers College of Business and Economics Business major and Vaneesa Franciosa, a Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Design Environment and Energy Resources Management major.
Carrie White, LaunchLab executive director, said the ZinnStarter competition is one of many ways that the LaunchLab helps students foster entrepreneurial mindsets and grow into innovators.
“Through the generosity of Ray Zinn, we’re able to give students the opportunity to build the tenacity and creativity that they need through pitching ideas and gaining constructive feedback to prepare them ready for the rigors of entrepreneurship on the other side of their degrees,” said White. “This group of student innovators have concepted bold ideas that have the potential to grow into successful businesses or products.”
The next pitch competition hosted by the Morris L. Hayhurst LaunchLab will be the Women Innovate Pitch Competition on October 20 from at 5 p.m. on Zoom. Learn more or register here.
For more information on the LaunchLab, their services and future pitch competitions, please visit launchlab.wvu.edu.
ZinnStarter is a multi-campus program to fund student entrepreneurs in the pre-launch phase. Initiated at Virginia Tech, ZinnStarter is growing and is housed at colleges nationally, including San Jose State, BYU, Utah Valley University and West Virginia University. For more information about ZinnStarter, please visit: http://toughthingsfirst.com/zinnstarter/
About the WVU Morris L. Hayhurst LaunchLab
The WVU Morris L. Hayhurst LaunchLab applied innovation center provides all WVU students and faculty across disciplines with a community-based center offering hands-on idea development support, education, mentorship, prototyping facilities, resources, and connections to innovative entrepreneurs across West Virginia. It is fueled by the John Chambers College of Business and Economics.