I will be graduating today with a bachelor’s degree in business administration concentrated in Entrepreneurship from the University of Texas at San Antonio. I’m a co-founder of the Pitch Competition at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) which is now a bi-annual event that will continue to occur at the University long after I graduate.
Leading the team and planning the competition also led me to become the current president of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization at UTSA. The Entrepreneurs’ Organization gives those with an entrepreneurial spirit the chance to grow as individuals, share ideas, give feedback, and connect with others. Its gives students opportunities to network, not only with their student peers, but with fellow entrepreneurs in the business world to promote entrepreneurship at all levels in all environments. It is a truly impactful organization which I loved being a part of, and one that I will always support.
We look forward to the future of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization Pitch Competition, and because of this, I will leave one last legacy behind at UTSA. I created the first crowdfunding page for next Pitch Competition a couple of weeks ago which can be found here.
I became a co-founder of the pitch competition while in an Entrepreneurship class headed by Dr. Anita Leffel. I started college with an English degree, but I switched to business, which was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Finding the entrepreneurship program at UTSA is something that changed my life, and where I found my passion. The entrepreneurship program introduced me to Dr. Leffel, the director of Entrepreneurship programs in the College of Business, which sparked a chain of events that led me to the path I am on today. Dr. Leffel is also the faculty advisor for CEO and Toastmasters at UTSA, and one of the most inspiring and passionate professors I have ever come across.
In that Entrepreneurship class that I walked into last semester, Dr. Leffel announced that we would all be partaking in projects and asked who in the class would like to be part of planning an entire elevator Pitch Competition. The term “elevator pitch” captures the ability of an entrepreneur to have his or her business concept down so tightly and effectively that he or she could walk into a hypothetical elevator and deliver it within the time span of an elevator ride to a potential investor. Without knowing anything that was to be involved, I quickly jumped at the chance and immediately got started along with three other girls, Sarah Olivarez, Maria Acevedo, and Amanda Johnson. Planning the entire event from an idea to seeing the event physically take place was an incredible experience. When we started preparing for the competition, we knew that we wanted this competition to be a new tradition here at UTSA. Three young women were given complete independence in creating the entire event, although we did have Dr. Leffel as our guide.
We were on a mission, we wanted to give students from all over campus a platform to express their innovative business ideas for virtually anything they felt there was a need for. We found there was a need for this. Young, bright, passionate students all over campus were dreaming of ideas but didn’t know what to do with them. This is what drove us to create this experience, this event, and I gave it my all. I learned how to lead a team, how to create a basic website, how to create and maintain social media for the competition, how to create effective marketing, and gained more confidence while giving numerous presentations all across campus about the event, the importance of networking, and the list goes on.
For the competition we decided to make the event campus wide, which was a first ever at UTSA and we included not only business students but students from all colleges at UTSA. The event was open to the entire campus because students with the entrepreneurial spirit are found in every field of study. The very first Pitch Competition finally became a reality on November 7th of last year where we had the top 20 contestants compete live at UTSA for a chance to win $1,000 just by pitching their business ideas in 90 seconds or less. The event was a huge hit and we were even able to get Christopher Herring, the chairman of the Texas Association of African American Chambers of Commerce, to come speak as our keynote speaker. We also had several business professionals from the San Antonio community in attendance.
We recently had our second ever bi-annual Pitch Competition this past March which was even bigger and better than the first. This competition is a great opportunity for students to not only win cash, but to further pursue and develop their ideas into an actual business.
The future goals of the Pitch Competition includes incorporating more opportunities for contestants, as well as further expanding the event, and getting more people from the San Antonio community involved. We need as much help as possible to make next semester’s event better so that students are well prepared to be future business owners as well as leaders and impact the San Antonio community for the better. Help us create greater opportunities for our hungry, passionate students who want to change the world one small step at a time.
Graduation is a bittersweet moment in my life because I am having to face the real world without any sort of blue print as to what happens next. I am more than excited to get my hands on the next adventure I am about to embark on.
*Featured/top image: Photo taken at first pitch competition last November. From left to right is: me (Kimberly Todd), Maria Acevedo, Edgar Ibarra (he wont first place), Amanda Johnson, and Sarah Olivarez. Photo courtesy of Kimberly Todd.