BLOOMINGTON – The Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship at Ivy Tech Community College’s Bloomington campus hosted its first student business pitch competition on Friday, April 1. The Duke It Out Pitch Competition, sponsored by Duke Energy, took place at 1 p.m. in Shreve Hall at Ivy Tech.

“The competition was created to help students take the first steps toward turning their innovative ideas into real businesses,” said assistant director of the Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship, Meghan Turner. “Their creative business ideas range from food trucks to open source photography hardware.”

Ivy Tech students from all academic areas were invited to apply for a spot in the Duke It Out competition. Competitors were from a variety of academic programs including general studies, technology, culinary and business.

Students with the 8 best ideas were selected by Cook Center and Small Business Development Center staff and were given three minute business pitches at the live pitch day event. A team of judges consisting of local entrepreneurs and business leaders selected the top three student pitches to receive cash prizes of up to $500. The audience also selected a popular vote winner to receive a special prize.

The winners were:
1st Place – Nefertiti Morris
2nd Place – April Williams
3rd Place – Desiree Anderson

Student presenters and their business ideas:
1. Desiree Anderson – Glam Swabs precision make-up remover applicators
2. Daniel Oberle – Rent-to-Own Homes
3. Nefertiti Morris – The Juice Truck, providing healthy organic smoothies, pressed juice, and snacks.
4. Justin Icenhour – An open source modular camera
5. April Williams – Cooking from Memory, custom catering for senior citizens
6. Ben Crandall – Crandall Custom Concepts, an aftermarket automotive accessory and custom shop.
7. Brian Farley – Naturally Yours, body scrub and bath bombs made from natural products
8. Eric Shepard – Freedom Furnace, outdoor boiler that burns biomass to power homes and businesses

Jim Silberstein – Program Chair of Entrepreneurship at Ivy Tech Bloomington
Christy Page – President of Christy Page, LLC and Adjunct Instructor for the Entrepreneurship program at Ivy Tech Bloomington
Bruce Calloway – Government and Community Relations Manager for Duke Energy
Dana Palazzo – Vice President of the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation

Winners and judges of the Duke It Out business pitch competition

April Williams, audience’s choice winner

From left to right: April Williams, second place; Nefertiti Morris, first place; Desiree Anderson, third place

First, second, and third-place trophies

About Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.