LSU Holds Third Annual 90-Second Student Pitch Competition

11/20/2014 09:25 AM

BATON ROUGE – On Tuesday, Nov. 18, the Stephenson Entrepreneurship Institute, or SEI, along with the Louisiana Business and Technology Center Student Incubator and Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization at LSU, hosted the annual 90-second Student Pitch Competition during Baton Rouge Entrepreneurship Week, or BREW.

Seventeen students signed up to pitch their business ideas to the three judges: Michael Banks, undergraduate advisor for general business in the E. J. Ourso College of Business; Lisa Traina, CPA and owner of Traina & Associates; and Thomas Cotton, CPA and business development consultant.

“The competition went very well and all the students did a terrific job with their presentations,” SEI Interim Director and LSU Executive Education Director Robin Kistler said. "One of the most important things that this kind of event does is help to build the entrepreneurial community within LSU and also introduce LSU students to the business community that can help them succeed.”

Each student was given 90 seconds to pitch their business idea, followed by a brief question and answer session with the judges. The top three pitches were awarded prizes:

  1. Peter Palma, a construction management major from Valley Forge, Pa., whose business idea was a magazine-shaped cleaning kit for military use
  2. Vilien Gomez, an electrical engineering major from White Castle, La., whose business idea was a tailgating service
  3. John Mehall, an information systems and decision sciences major from Detroit, Mich., whose business idea was an parking app for use by college students and sports fans


“I’ve been making pitches unbeknownst to me for some time now. People ask about my product and in essence you are giving them a small pitch, and it really helped me to focus on what’s important and what’s not,” Palma said. “It was great to do the 90 second competition because you give the distilled version of what’s needed, and from there if they want to ask questions, I have the answers to those.”

Also as part of BREW, on Friday, Nov. 21, LSU Executive Education will host an entrepreneurship focused Breakfast to Business event, featuring local entrepreneurs Monique Breaux of POSH Exclusive Interiors, William McGehee of Tin Roof Brewing Co., Caryn Roland of Heirloom Cuisine, and Kolby Tullier of Body Mechanics Training. The breakfast will be held in room 1420 of the LSU Business Education Complex from 7:30 – 9 a.m. Seating is limited, and prior registration is encouraged. Registration is $25 per person and can be found online at

BREW 2014 is a week-long series of events to celebrate entrepreneurship and innovation in the Baton Rouge area. The full schedule of events can be found online at

The Stephenson Entrepreneurship Institute, an integral part of LSU’s E. J. Ourso College of Business, utilizes the Fellows Program, LSU Executive Education, the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities, the LSU 100: Fastest Growing Tiger Businesses, and the Distinguished Entrepreneur Speaker Series to address the challenges of entrepreneurship and to positively impact students, the regional economy, the state of Louisiana and the nation.

For more information, visit or call 225-578-0313.

Louisiana Innovation Month
Developed by the Louisiana Innovation Council in partnership with Louisiana Economic Development, regional and local economic development agencies, and higher education institutions across the state, Louisiana Innovation Month is a celebration of business creativity and innovation for the entire State of Louisiana. Innovation Month provides the opportunity to coordinate efforts among these partners and position them as catalysts for the development of a more diverse knowledge-sector based economy. Follow the hashtag #LouisianaInnovation for more on innovation in the state.

Wendy  Marx 
E. J. Ourso College of Business

Posted on Thursday, November 20, 2014