UMW Eagle Innovation Business Pitch Competition awards $3,500 to student entrepreneurs

Congratulations are in order for the three student entrepreneurs selected to receive seed capital for their businesses and business ideas at the third annual Eagle Innovation Business Pitch Competition. On April 14, six University of Mary Washington (UMW) and Germanna Community College students pitched their ventures to a panel of five judges who selected the award recipients. Each student had five minutes to clearly articulate their business idea, identify and define a market, explain their startup costs and cashflow projections, and validate their concept and themselves as a business owner.

  • The first-place award of $2,000 was awarded to UMW junior Jarad Ponce for his company Henrey and Sons Liquidation Corporation.
  • The second-place award of $1,000 went to UMW junior Hollis Cobb for his nonprofit Bookmobile Fredericksburg.
  • The third-place award of $500 went to Germanna student Ebony Boone for her business idea: Vibes Lounge & Spa.

The first place awardee Jarad Ponce is already in business, and found the experience putting everything together into a pitch to be a worthwhile experience. “The Eagle Innovation Competition was an excellent opportunity for me to meet local business people and tell them about my business. The pitching environment is a unique opportunity, only exercised by pitching in front of your peer business people. I’m thankful that the competition is here for students to experience the pitching environment. I now have more experience to take the following steps in my business future,” said Ponce.

The UMW Center for Economic Development supports student entrepreneurs through Eagle Innovation and the StartUpUMW program, a semester-long internship that engages local business owners and professionals to help students develop their own business ideas. Many of the students who participated in the competition also completed StartUpUMW.

“I am very proud of the students who participated in Eagle Innovation. I met with all of the students over several weeks leading up to the competition and saw firsthand how much hard work and passion they put into their ideas. It’s so rewarding to see how far they come from beginning to end and I look forward to growing and expanding the program,” said Kelsey Whitman, the student entrepreneurship manager.

This program is made possible by the generous support from the community. Through sponsorships, mentorship, and training, the students have opportunities to learn from experienced and practicing business owners and professionals, and the opportunity to win investment for their businesses. A special thank you to our 2022 sponsors: REDCO, Discover Next Step, Fredericksburg Regional Alliance, Corps Solutions, and King George Economic Development Authority.

Check out the UMW Center for Economic Development site for more information about how we support local business. Students: apply today for StartUpUMW fall 2022!