UH Students Put Entrepreneurship Skills to the Test During Cougar Pitch Finals

Published on November 27, 2013

Winners Recognized in Technology and Non-technology Student Categories

Students from the University of Houston campus had two minutes to pitch their idea to a panel for a chance to win $1,000.

Students from the University of Houston campus had two minutes to pitch their idea to a panel for a chance to win $1,000. Pictured is Rashmi Bhat who won first place for the non-technology division.View more photos from the event.

Every entrepreneur knows they need to have an elevator speech, a two-minute pitch that sets your idea apart from all the others – and that can win you $1,000.

Students from across the University of Houston campus gave two-minute pitches of their own business plans on Nov. 21 at the third annual Cougar Pitch competition, sponsored by the Cyvia and Melvyn Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship (WCE) at the C. T. Bauer College of Business.

The competition was split into two sections, technology and non-technology, along with an audience favorite. The non-technology winners were Rashmi Bhat in first place and Eric Beydoun in second, and the technology winners were Scott Maranda in first, and Jasmine Patel in second and Tehmina Manasiya as audience favorite. The first place winners in both categories won $1,000 to use in getting their ideas off the ground.

“My idea is a fast food Indian restaurant, which I came up with it because I’m an Indian who goes around and I’m not able to find an Indian restaurant unless I’m spending a lot of money or going to a small little restaurant,” Bhat said.

The judge’s panel featured Houston-based business owners and WCE Associate Director Ken Jones who questioned students about the viability of their ideas. Delivery, market viability, value proposition and if the judges would want to learn more about the idea, were all part of the judging criteria.

“The reason I was set apart from other students was because I really defined my market. I knew who I was targeting, I knew what my competition was doing and I was very specific in mentioning that and I didn’t get too technical,” Bhat added. “I sold a concept and the idea to the judges.”

The directors of Cougar Pitch aimed to offer students a platform to develop their business plans in preparation for the event and to hone their pitches and presentation skills they need when meeting with potential investors and customers.

“I freeze under big audiences, and normally I would have frozen up there, but this gave me the courage to actually step forward and try it out,” said Maranda, whose business plan focused on a solar-powered street light system. “I lucked out and did great.”

By Ann Lynd

Got an Idea? Give Us Your Cougar Pitch!

Students from across the University of Houston campus gave two-minute pitches of their own business plans on Nov. 21 at the third annual Cougar Pitch competition, sponsored by the Cyvia and Melvyn Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship (WCE) at the C. T. Bauer College of Business.