Idea Pitch 2022: MTU Students Poised to Shape the World with Innovative Solutions


One hundred and twenty seconds. This is the amount of time students had to present their entrepreneurial ideas to judges at this year’s Ideas Pitch Competition. 

The event took place at 5 pm on Tuesday, October 4, at the Great Lakes Research Center.

Organized by Husky Innovate every fall semester as one of several activities to build the capacity of students to launch real-world startups.  This year’s event saw eight contestants whose ideas ranged from building college-friendly cabinets that do not require tools to assemble, to setting up food trucks for diverse communities in the Houghton area. 

After very interesting presentations, the first-place award with a $200 cash prize went to  Anastasia Motta whose idea, “The Droplet”, is going to help you save your house plants from dying. 

Husky Innovate Idea Pitch Competition certification presentation
Asia Motta (right) receiving the first place certificate and award from Jon Leinonen.

Cassandra Nash with a new idea of making college-friendly cabinets won the second-place award. She received a $100 cash prize. The third-place award with a $50 prize was taken by Alex Bos. Alex’s pitch is attempting to revolutionalize how college students can enjoy a couch even in limited spaces. 

In addition to judges, the audience was comprised of students, faculty members, and university staff.  The audience was given the opportunity to vote for their favorite pitch.  Noel Kamdem-Tegue, whose company, Black Earth Rising, pitched their food truck idea to serve African and Indian food with the idea that diverse communities can enjoy their home favorites.  Black Earth Rising was judged as the audience’s favorite. 

Other award categories included an honorable mention and a social impact award received by Ruby Alhajjar and Cethan Magnan respectively.

The event was supported by Pavlis Honors College.  Awards were sponsored by Dean Johnson, Dean of the College of Business, and Elham Asgari, Assistant Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship at the College of Business.

The judges for the night were Elham Asgari (COB); Erich Petushek (CLS), Mark Rudnicki (COFRES), Briana Tucker (Enterprise), Jason Mack, (MTEC SmartZone); and Rourke Sylvain (Biomed). The event was emceed by Bayle Golden, (COB).

The Idea Pitch Competition is the first of three pitch events that Husky Innovate hosts each year. The next pitch event is the Bob Mark Business Model Competition on January 19th, a legacy event that celebrates entrepreneurship and is a tribute to the late College of Business Professor of Practice Bob Mark. Contestants pitch the key components of their business models, including value proposition, customer segment, and product market fit. 

First Place: Anastasia Motta with The Droplet ($200)
Second Place: Cassandra Nash with College Friendly Cabinets ($100)
Third Place: Alex Bos with The SELF Couch ($50)
Honorable Mention: Ruby Alhajjar with Monitoring System for Microbial Influence ($25)
Audience Favorite: Noel Kamdem-Tegue with Black Earth Rising, a food truck ($25)
Social Impact Award: Cethan Magnan with School Swap ($100)

Written by: Eugene Brown Agyei for Husky Innovate

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