Spark SC, a student entrepreneurial organization, hosted the closing ceremony for their 1000 Pitches contest Tuesday in the Annenberg West Lobby.
The purpose of 1000 Pitches is to empower students to have confidence in their ideas and show that everyone can be an entrepreneur. To participate in the contest, graduate and undergraduate students from all academic disciplines were asked to submitted a video ranging from 30 seconds to three minutes with a pitch for a new product, program or idea. Each contestant had the opportunity to pitch up to three ideas. Twelve winning pitches were then chosen to receive a $1,000 prize.
Since the event kicked off on Sept. 24, Spark SC members have been setting up pitch booths across campus and encouraging as many students as possible to pitch an idea in exchange for a free t-shirt.
“The purpose of the event is to challenge the notion of what a $1,000 pitch is,” said Pooja Dhupati, co-head of the 1000 Pitches Planning Committee. “Innovation can be accessible to anyone.”
Two months and 1,127 pitches later, 60 finalists and 12 winners were chosen for their award-winning ideas in one of the 12 different categories including music, education and research. All of the finalists were invited to attend the 1000 Pitches closing ceremony.
The event started with an introduction from the co-heads of the event, Pooja Dhupati and Ben Choe. This was followed by a keynote address from Alyssa Esqueda, a senior editor at CNET TV and the host of Tomorrow Daily. Immediately after, the finalists were announced and the winning pitch videos were shown. Each of the 12 winners received a prize of $1,000. The winning innovations ranged from a virtual reality film project to showcasing student art across campus to a travel service for people who want to go backpacking across Europe.
“HostelPass is basically a premade lodging pass for anyone who goes on a Europe trip,” said Sarah Weingust, the winner for best pitch in the travel category. “You can pay up front for all of your accommodations, book what city you want to stay in the night before and have your housing taken care of by the next day. The purpose is to liberate the free-spirited traveler and allow them to be spontaneous.”
The entire contest is funded through sponsorships from various on-campus and off-campus organizations. Some of the sponsors included Microsoft, Cornerstone, Riot Games and Raytheon. Ben Choe, co-head of the 1000 Pitches Planning Committee and a member of the Iovine and Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation, began working on securing sponsorship funding in July.
“I cold called a lot of different companies and showed them other popular Spark [SC] events,” Choe said. “I talked about TechLA and the Startup Fair, but I basically had to pitch a pitch competition.”