Marylhurst faculty member Carolina Selva developed PitchFest, a Shark-Tank-like event for entrepreneurial students, at Portland Community College.
At PitchFest, entrepreneurs make a pitch for their business idea or product before an audience and a panel of judges. Carolina Selva brought this event to PCC students for the first time in December 2017. In attendance were members of the surrounding business community, including entrepreneurs, members of PortlandSeedFund, BusinessOregon and PSU’s Center for Entrepreneurship, as well as PCC students and faculty.
At PCC’s PitchFest, eight teams representing two campuses competed for the opportunity to represent PCC at the statewide InventOR competition in June 2018. The two teams chosen to move on to InventOR state finals, receiving a $2,500 grant to build their prototype / business case, were:
PlantStop Vending: A solar-powered vending machine and app-driven method of making healthy, plant-based convenience food accessible to the transit-riding population. Team members include Lora Schmuecker, Noemy Orozco, Erick Gonzalez-Mejia and Tiziano Bottoni.
Royal Family Adventures: A nonprofit organization with the mission of making memorable vacation experiences accessible to low-income families. Team members include Mike Lord (Founder), Irvin Rojas and Remy Freeman.
The panel of judges at PCC PitchFest were:
- Amber Bielman, entrepreneur, Neighborhood Nanny
- Brad Shafer, marketing director, Intel
- Caedmon Webb, entrepreneur
- Jarvez Hall, business advisor, Small Business Development Center
- Leslie Hildula, business advisor, Small Business Development Center
- Stephen Green, founder, PitchBlackPDX; co-founder, Oregon Public House
PitchFest teams were evaluated on three criteria: pitch, impact and prototype. Winning teams excelled at their ability to define the problem / solution and market opportunity (pitch), demonstrated effect in the market / community (impact), and the likelihood that the team’s goals for the next stage could be executed within 90 days (prototype).
The winning PCC PitchFest teams will travel to Klamath Falls in June with their prototype / business plan to compete for a top prize of $25,000 at InventOR, where innovators from across the state will showcase solutions to important social and economic challenges affecting Oregon’s urban and rural areas.
Carolina Selva teaches courses in the business program at Marylhurst University. She also teaches at Portland Community College, where she serves as faculty department chair on the southeast campus.