CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – After more than four months of preparation, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi students braced themselves as a group of judges from the Corpus Christi business community carefully reviewed their business ideas presented in “pitch videos.”
Among the 16 judges, Fred Dotts said, “the winner was clear to me.” Another judge, Martha DeCou said, “I kept changing my scores through the evening as it was a tough choice.”
After close to two hours of watching seven “pitch videos,” the judges decided on three finalists: U’DERS a transportation system similar to Uber, but with background checked student drivers; MatchMate, a web based roommate matching system, and BUTTON - BUDDY, a bracelet with an emergency button that can alert personal contacts as well as the police when the wearer is in danger.
Natasya Hennlich of BUTTON - BUDDY said she believes the bracelet would solve a global problem and make women everywhere feel safe. Samantha Gifford works in on-campus housing on campus and said she noticed how roommate issues could be easily solved with the right communication tool.
Kristin-Sophie Strittmatter and Garrett Ransom of U’DERS said their idea not only solves a transportation and parking problem that many students face, it also gives student drivers opportunity to earn money on a schedule that works around their classes.
The three finalists will advance to the Buc Days Ideas Challenge Showcase Dinner on Thursday, March 23, an event hosted by the Buccaneer Commission and is similar to the television show “Shark Tank.” The finalists will pitch their business ideas in front of an audience and a panel of judges who will vote on the spot.
The first place winner will receive $3,000 and advance to the Raymond Ideas Challenge held by Texas A&M University Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship in College Station. The second prize winner will receive $2,000 and $1,000 will go to the third prize winner.
“The competition is an opportunity for students to experience the demands of selling investors on the market potential of a new business concept or idea,” said Dr. John Gamble, Dean of the College of Business.
This is the second year of the Buc Days Ideas Challenge competition, which is open university-wide to students of all majors.
“The Ideas Challenge encourages innovation among students and has the potential to positively impact our economy with a diversity of businesses,” said Russell Franques, Associate Director of Client Relations at the Coastal Bend Business Innovation Center.
Students and the community are invited to view all ten business ideas by watching the two minute “pitch videos” on an online voting page. The online video competition kicked-off on Wednesday, Jan. 18, and will continue till midnight Wednesday, Jan. 25.
The video which receives the most public votes will win $500. All the students involved said they are excited to share their ideas with other students and the community.
Students involved in the Ideas Challenge receive business support from the College of Business Entrepreneurship Program Islander Venture Fund.