The eighth annual Bulldog B.I.T.E., Building Innovation by Truman Entrepreneurs, competition took place November 16 in the SUB Activities Room, where the six finalists presented their prototype products or ideas, and the top three contestants received a cash reward.
The competition is an elevator pitch contest that allows students to advance their projects while raising their entrepreneurial skills. The event was created to simulate a quick conversation an entrepreneur may have with an investor,; possibly as short as a ride in an elevator.
Alumni Doug (‘94) and Diane (‘95) Villhard, who recently opened the Innovation Lab in the Pickler Memorial Library and were honored after their contributions, financially and professionally support the competition.
Charles Hunsaker, the Executive Director for University Advancement, organized the event. “My passion [for this event] is carrying out Doug’s passion for entrepreneurship and providing high-impact experiences for our students to be able to pitch their ideas and have an opportunity to bring innovation and entrepreneurship more to the Truman campus,” Hunsaker said.
The final top three finalists were Saron Gebremichael and Nahom Jamber, winning first place with their company Value College Prep, Mohammed Abdikebir, Krisha Chebolu and Habib Nasir, who all placed second with their College Event Notification app, and Trenton Kiesling with Dillightful Pickle Ball.
“We would just like to thank Truman for giving us this opportunity. We’re really happy about it,” Jamber stated. The duo shared that their plans with their winnings will be to expand their offices for their future endeavors.
This was also the first year of the additional People’s Choice award, where the audience got to choose their favorite pitch. Trentton Kiesling, the creator of Dillightful Pickle Ball, won.
The competition is open to any Truman student who enrolled for the fall semester and students enrolled in the fall semester at the local Moberly Area Community College. Over the last two years, the contest has also invited area high school students to participate in what Hunsaker called “Bulldog Pitch Day.”
“There’s Bulldog B.I.T.E., which is for the college students, and there’s Bulldog Pitch Day for the high school students which we’re doing all on the same day as a big celebration of entrepreneurship,” Hunsaker said.
For more information about the event and future competitions, visit https://bulldogbite.truman.edu/.