A trio of students from University High School in Irvine recently took third place in a “Shark Tank”-style competition organized by Irvine Valley College’s entrepreneurship program.
During the final round of the IVC Idea Pitch Competition on May 12, students made their best five-minute pitches outlining well-defined problems and entrepreneurial solutions, complete with descriptions of their target customers, business models, marketing strategies and pricing. They also shared results of the market testing they conducted while they developed their plans.
Finalists included Irvine Valley College students majoring in computer science, engineering, accounting and business. But there were also two student teams from the business dual-enrollment courses at Irvine’s University High School and Beckman High in the Tustin Unified School District.
In the end, IVC’s Elizabeth Chan took first place for her start-up, Double Happiness Collective Consulting Services. Another IVC student, Spencer Fitzgerald, earned second-place honors with Get It Energy Gum. And University High School students Sam Gharavi, Arne Noori and Raiyan Rizwan placed third for Compensify, an app that would connect student freelancers with business startups.
Each of the top three winners received a cash prize and more than $2,000 in business start-up services. The University High team also won the Audience Choice Award.
Coordinated and hosted by IVC professor John Russo from the college’s Business and Entrepreneurship department, the event once again promoted partnerships between IVC students, local entrepreneurs, industry partners, the community college and local high schools.
In fact, entrepreneur mentors worked with student teams for more than 30 days leading up to the competition’s conclusion, conducting group and one-on-one workshops to fully flesh out business ideas and refine presentation skills.
According to the IVC website, the entrepreneurship program helps students define success, establish startups, promote innovation, commercialize research and develop nonprofits. Students are further encouraged to combine their entrepreneurship education with other disciplines such as management, marketing or real estate.