2018 Coastal Venture Competition
The University of South Alabama Melton Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (MCEI) hosted the Coastal Venture Competition on Friday, April 20, 2018. During the weeks leading up to the event, twenty three videos were submitted resulting in six finalists. The top four contestants competed live, Shark Tank style, in front of judges and an audience comprised of students, professors and MCEI Board Members. Over $12,000 was awarded to competitors with the winner taking a $4,000 grand prize.
The $4,000 grand prize winner was David Hinton, who presented Coffee Drop, a re-imagined version of the single serve cup of coffee that makes it possible to have a cup anytime and anywhere. Sebastian Kirmse took home $3,000 as first runner up with ZT Composites, a carbon fiber material that addresses the thermal, electrical, and mechanical weaknesses of average carbon fiber. Second runner up Elizabeth Rodin won $2,000 by successfully presenting Free Launch, a company that partners with Universities to help students and entrepreneurs bring their dreams and ideas alive. Grant Weeks took home the third runner up trophy and $1,000 for his authentic creole restaurant Fable – The Lost Flavor of Alabama Creole.
Taking home $500 each were honorable mentions Anusha Sai Paila with E-bus (an app that provides improvement and efficiency to the current public transportation system) and the CEO (Collegiate Entrepreneur’s Organization) team with their idea of Bay Pass (a flat rate ticket to all the attractions in Mobile including restaurants). The CEO team split their $500 between 4 members: Justin Gardener, Bryanna Smith, Andrea Prgomelja, and Kennedy Holder.
Based on the feedback from the participants and judges, the event was a tremendous success. We are taking their suggestions and are planning to make next year’s Coastal Venture Competition even bigger!