Students showcase ideas at ASU Entrepreneurship + Innovation Open Pitch

Above: Students participated in Downtown Open Pitch on Sept. 12, 2019, at the HEALab in Taylor Place, the downtown student dorms. (Photo by Lisa Diethelm) Business News | 23 Sep, 2019 |

At the ASU Entrepreneurship + Innovation’s (E+I) Open Pitch event at the Downtown Campus, six students pitched their business ideas ranging from helpful apps to full companies. 

Resinate, a company that makes pots and climbing holds out of used plastics, won the $250 prize at the event. 

Every semester, E+I Program Coordinators host one Open Pitch session at four of ASU’s campuses. The Downtown Campus, on Sept. 12, held the second Open Pitch of the semester. Students have two minutes to pitch their idea, whether it is a fully formed business or not. All students present then vote for a winner by putting their heads down and raising their hands.

The rules and requirements regarding pitches are minimal, Program Coordinator of Engagement Student Outreach Bailey Gading said.

“They pitch in front of a crowd of other students or other members of ASU faculty staff,” Gading said. “Members in the audience will be pitching as well.”

At Open Pitch Downtown, more than five students came to pitch their idea and were able to compete for the $250 prize. The prize money, however, can be used for anything the winner decides to use it for. 

“It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go on and start your own business, but it is a new way of approaching problems and thinking of solutions,” Amanda Jordan said, a program coordinator with RISN Incubator at ASU. “That’s what we try to encourage.”

Garret Schwartz, a senior history major, won the prize with his company Resinate. The company takes used plastic and reuses the materials to make pots and climbing holds. Schwartz said the goal of the company is to locally tackle the growing plastic pollution problem and make a profit at the same time. 

“This is a good place for a new business to get started pitching,” Schwartz said. “We have an idea we think is worth listening to.”

Right now, Schwartz and his three partners are pitching at more competitions to get funding. 

“We ultimately look to get about $50,000 to build a bigger facility so that we can acquire plastic waste from the city and prevent that from going to landfills,” Schwartz said. “We can produce at a higher volume and make this a profitable company instead of just an environmentally beneficial one.”

Open Pitch also serves as a way for students to be introduced to other resources for their ideas. Schwartz, for example, is part of the Venture Devils program. 

Venture Devils provides mentorships, working spaces, and access to larger competitions. Although he has not pitched Resinate a lot at Venture Devils, Schwartz came to Open Pitch to express his idea.

“When we do Open Pitch, we always make sure that students know about that program (Venture Devils) and the ongoing resources that support your idea all of the time versus one two minute conversation of what you are working on,” Senior Program Manager Lauren Dunning said.

The last Open Pitch for the semester will be held at the West Campus on Sept. 24.  The Venture Devils deadline is a few days after on Sept. 27.

Gading, along with E+I, believes Open Pitch is a way for students with ideas to feel supported by ASU.

“We want to support their ideas – whatever that may be – and encourage them to pursue that,” Gading said.

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