From Bras and Brushes to Solar Panels and Stem Cells? Southland Students Compete in CSUF Fast Pitch Competition

Northwood High juniors Hannah Keith and Kavita Galal partnered in their economics class and came up with an idea to create a website where women can customize their own bras, and Build-A-Bra was born.

High School Team Make Their Pitch

Team Build-A-Bra

“It’s something that I would love to use, and we thought other women would like to create their own bras too,” says Keith.

UC Riverside student Geneva Acholonu ’15 used her major in business along with her career as a makeup artist to come up with Brush Tech.


Creator of Brush Tech - Fast Pitch

Geneva Acholonu ’15, Creator of Brush Tech

“Having dirty makeup brushes is one of the worse things you can use on your skin. My product will clean up to five bushes at a time more thoroughly than any other product,” says Acholonu.

These women are just a few of the contestants of the first CSUF Fast Pitch Business Competition. More than 50 participants from Orange County high schools and local universities competed for prizes that could help launch their businesses.

In the first round, high school contestants took to the stage and presented 60-second business pitches in front of a packed audience and a panel of judges. After the presentations, the audience selected their favorites using a website created by Entrepreneur Elympics, host of the event. The university students presented afterward and followed the same format.

The top three audience favorites from both the high school and university presentations were brought on stage once more to sit in the lightning round’s “hot seat.” This final stage of the competition allowed entrepreneur alumnus Will Cosmo ‘09, CEO of Entrepreneur Elympics and moderator of the event, as well as the panel of judges to ask the contestants tough questions about their businesses. The judges then made their final decisions and announced the winners.

Among the high school contestants, first place and a $500 prize went to the creative team of Northwood High School students Hanna Keith and Kavita Galal and their business idea, Build-A-Bra. Second place and $250 was awarded to Long Beach Poly Tech High School students Emma Skinner and Andrea Garcia for their business, Long Beach Eco-Scholars, which is an operational student-run business. Third place belonged to Solar Panel Rooftop, a business idea created by Troy High School student Lucy Lu and was awarded a $100 prize.

Among the university contestants, First place and a $1,000 prize went to UC Riverside student Geneva Acholonu for her company, Brush Tech. The second place winner and the $500 prize was Synova Life Sciencesand its creator Cal State Fullerton student John Chi ’13. Third place and $250 was awarded to Ethan Chow of Cal Poly Pomona for his website idea, Vaster.

Every contestant received feedback from the judges on how to better their pitch and business idea. Entrepreneur Freeman LeFleur spoke to the audience about the secret of business.

Student making his business pitch

Freeman LaFleur

“Experiment in business and life,” said LeFleur. “Take the feedback from those experiments and apply them and adjust as you go.”

Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, John Jackson, was impressed with both the high school and college contestants.

“All of these students are already ahead of most just by being here,” said Jackson. “It is important to gain feedback and continue to practice.”

Wells Fargo, The Black Family Trust and The Guchereau Company were the generous sponsors of this year’s event.

For more information on future fast pitch events, visit the Center for Entrepreneurship.

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