Purdue University Northwest announces the PNW Big Sell winners
Purdue University Northwest’s (PNW) College of Business and College of Technology hosted the 12th annual PNW Big Sell pitch competition, sponsored by the Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO), sending three winners away with investment capital for their startup pitches.
Twelve finalists presented on April 29 on WJOB and JEDtv inside PNW’s Commercialization and Manufacturing Excellence Center (CMEC) building.
Jannice Newson received first place and $10,000 for her business, Lillian Augusta, a plant-based hair extension company. Newson co-founded Lillian Augusta with Nana Britwum with the goal of providing synthetic, biodegradable hair braid extensions for Black women that are comfortable and sustainable for the environment.
Luis Alvear earned second place and $3,000 for his startup, AtoB. The software platform seeks to allow automobile drivers and passengers to pair up in advance and split costs for carpooling opportunities if they are traveling to similar destinations. The predicted subsequent effects would include lower carbon emissions, reduced traffic congestion and reduced travel costs. Alvear is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from PNW this spring.
Courtney Stern took home third place and $1,000 for her app, Park Watch. Stern, who lives in New York City, started Park Watch to help drivers best find urban on-street parking by fostering a community of motorists who can share spots with each other based on their schedules in advance or in real-time.
We are so excited to see these companies looking to scale their businesses within our entrepreneurship ecosystem. The diversity of founders and their companies mirrors our diverse community and we look forward to supporting them as they continue to raise capital.
“Entrepreneurship students produce the PNW Big Sell pitch competition, which had another fantastic showing,” said Alexandra Moran, clinical instructor of Entrepreneurship. “We are so excited to see these companies looking to scale their businesses within our entrepreneurship ecosystem. The diversity of founders and their companies mirrors our diverse community and we look forward to supporting them as they continue to raise capital.”
Moran and Mont Handley, entrepreneur in residence and associate director of CMEC, jointly directed the event. A three-member panel of judges included Nassim Abdi, co-founder of StoryBolt; Kristin Burton, assistant professor of Entrepreneurship at PNW; and Stewart McMillan, founder of the Multi Agency Academic Cooperative (MAAC) Foundation. The 12 finalists delivered six-minute pitches to the judges.
The PNW Big Sell pitch competition can be viewed on-demand at jedtv.com.