(Black PR Wire) Thurgood Marshall College Fund’s (TMCF) annual business competition “The Pitch” was held on May 22-26, 2022 at Winston Salem State University. Collegiate innovators competed in a hybrid competition and were supported by innovative workshops and mock sessions. The event brought together over one hundred students from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) located all over the United States, in addition to 12 students who competed virtually through the Metaverse.
The first-place prize of $18,000 went to the TMCF MetaScholars Phoenix Team members, Zion Meslon, Morehouse College; Lance Davis, North Carolina A&T University; Nicolas Hardin, Southern University and A&M College; Marcellus Northington-Winston, North Carolina A&T University, and Georgiana Wright, Alabama A&M University. As part of The Pitch, they competed in the Metaverse, a virtual reality experience, presenting a start-up focused on storage protocol decentralization designed to store private and social data on any device. First-place winners also received internship opportunities at Fanbase and business coaching with Founder and CEO, Isaac Hayes III.
The second-place winners are the Future of Finance, Amber Curtis, Fisk University; Dasani Stallworth, Alabama State University; Elijin Rhymes, Florida A&M University; Indica Turner, Virginia State University; Nyla Chenault, Hampton University; and Ramiah Curry, Morehouse University. GW the Future of Finance aimed to create more access to financial literacy education creating a metaverse-centric software enabling children to use cutting-edge tech for real-life simulations and gamified educational content. Participants won a cash prize of $9,000.
Third-place honors went to The Pitch Sixth Sense team Alexis Presnell, Alabama A&M University; Anita Bozhko, Alabama A&M University; Shavandra Hooks, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University; Shemaya Bridgewater, Howard University; and Treyvion Hall, Virginia State University; delivered a Non-Profit Agricultural Business that is tailored for training and educating of people in areas with high food insecurity to create a workforce for impoverished families to be taught about sustainability while also growing their own produce for consumption thus slowly decreasing food insecurity in vast parts of the country. They also received $2,500 in scholarship.
“Now that we have wrapped up this years’ The Pitch, I could not be more proud of this group of stand out students,” says Martin G. Martin II, TMCF Innovation and Entrepreneurship Division Program Director. “We selected 100 of the brightest young minds across the HBCU and PBI landscape, and immersed them into a curriculum centered around developing an intra/ entrepreneurial mindset. This signature program also provides a once in a lifetime opportunity for students to expand their networks and get feedback on their entrepreneurial career goals and aspirations that complement their classroom learning. TMCF is devoted to investing in chances for young entrepreneurs to take risks, to collaborate, and to do research on their ideas in order to progress the industries in which they are ideating in.”
All of the university teams who participated had a curated experience to develop their ideas in Innovation ‘pods’ powered by Toyota Motor North America. The Pitch winners received over $30,000 in scholarships and cash prizes. Sponsors of this year’s PITCH include A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation, Medtronic, TPFoundation, Reynolds American, Chevron, Black Ambition, Daily Pay, Mytaverse, Lending Tree, Wells Fargo Bank, Fanbase and CrowdStrike. The event also featured a fireside conversation between entrepreneur Kadija Dosse from Dosse Beauty and Jermeen Sherman of Black Ambitious Prize.