In August, the Irvine Valley College entrepreneurship department
partnered up with the College Leap organization, a national non-profit founded
by UC Berkeley students to increase the leadership opportunities for
transferring community college students. The event they were hosting was
their national business plan pitch competition.
Ten IVC student teams from different disciplines of study entered
the competition, with seven teams pitching in the first round which was hosted by IVC.
After more than a month of preparation with guidance and mentorship from
Professor John Russo, the lead of the entrepreneurship program at IVC, the first round produced some excellent business concepts with great student pitch
decks and presentations. The first round was judged by serial entrepreneur and
IVC Professor Michael Sawitz, along with IVC entrepreneurship alumni Maryam
Edah Tally, and a UC Berkeley alumnus.
The teams included a migraine detection and relief app created by
Sara Sharifzadeh, an innovative
emergency backpack developed by Yuki Kitamura, a pantry food ingredient recipe
and cooking app by Rachel Nellis, Ester Kim, and Rachel Kim, The Good Apple
Initiative, a farmer's market food collection and distribution company by
Sunmeet Singh, Fable Stable, a storytelling app to bring generations closer
together by Raghavi Mavuduri.
HelioPods, a gel pod sunscreen packaging by Kimberly Rayner and Apoorva Gunti,
and GiveMind, a mental health app by Jay Trang and Yasaman Nassab.
After the first round and top winner going to HelioPods, three of
the IVC teams were invited to pitch into the regional round against other
community colleges in Southern California. In the regional round, again top
honors went to HelioPods to move on and compete in the final round.
November 7 was the final round of the College Leap national
business plan pitch competition. The competition started with 80 teams
from all over the state of California and Washington. In the final, the IVC
team HelioPods, of Kimberly Rayner (business major), and Apoorva Gunti
(bioengineering major), pitched against 7 other teams. It was a tough
competition with some great presentations and prominent judges from the Haas
Berkeley School of Business, California Community College State Director,
entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists. The IVC team presented their sunscreen
pods idea wonderfully and took 1st place
in the competition. A big congratulations to Kimberly and
Apoorva for all of their hard work and dedication in this competition. They are
looking to take their idea to the next level and ultimately bring it to the