Finalists set for fifth annual Pirate Entrepreneurship Challenge

The second round of this year’s Pirate Entrepreneurship Challenge on Jan. 25 saw 11 teams vie for the opportunity to move on to the finals, scheduled for 6-8 p.m. on April 6 in Harvey Hall on the campus of East Carolina University.

At the end of round two, six teams emerged as finalists after pitching their ideas to a panel of five judges and answering a series of follow-up questions. All will compete for an opportunity to take the lion’s share of $150,000 in cash and in-kind prizes.

ECU MBA student Jamerus Payton was one of 11 student-led teams to participate in the second round of the fifth annual Pirate Entrepreneurship Challenge. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

The six finalists represent three ECU Colleges — College of Business, College of Health and Performance, and College of Fine Arts and Communications. The student-led finalists include:

  • AI Tailor, a web app that connects individuals with top-tier tailors with students Greyson Tavolacci and Colby Mitchell
  • Carolina Chicken and Waffles, a mobile food unit that celebrates the operator’s heritage in eastern North Carolina developed by student Jamerus Payton
  • Designs by Lyd, a handmade clay accessory and Christian clothing line, with student Lydia Pinto
  • GO-BO, LLC, a compact modular martial arts weapons kit with Doug Thomas
  • Sand-Off, a sand-repelling sunscreen with Amber Lucido
  • Sydvicious, artist created hand-crafted coloring books with Sydney Gilmore.

The judges who evaluated the teams were:

According to David Mayo, Pirate Challenge organizer and director of the Crisp Small Business Resource Center, this year’s finalists and their ideas continue to reflect the diverse and talented student body that calls ECU home.

“The Pirate Challenge provides an avenue for ECU students to hone their ideas and have an opportunity to succeed as an entrepreneur,” Mayo said. “I’m very proud it can be the catalyst for those ideas to come into fruition.”

In its fifth year, the Pirate Challenge has awarded almost $400,000 prizes to more than 300 student-led teams.

The Miller School of Entrepreneurship is the sponsor of Pirate Challenge, the largest student pitch competition in North Carolina.

Student entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to Pirate Entrepreneurship Challenge judges with hopes of moving on to the finals.

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