TAMPA — Nearly 400 student entrepreneurs, and their faculty advisors, will be in downtown Tampa next week for the 38th annual Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO) Conference and Pitch Competition.
The conference will be held Oct. 28-30, 2021, at the Tampa Marriott Water Street. Attendees will network with other entrepreneurial-minded students, listen to presentations from seasoned entrepreneurs, subject matter experts, motivational speakers and fellow students who seek to be one of the transformative entrepreneurs of tomorrow.
Keynote speakers at this year’s conference include: Travis Rosbach, founder of Hydro Flask; Mike Delazzer co-founder of GetAMovie (Redbox); Jason Feifer, editor in chief of Entrepreneur magazine; Ruben Pressman, founder of Presence(Modern Campus); Michael Greenberg AWS Startups; and, Rebecca White, author of See, Do, Repeat and professor of entrepreneurship at The University of Tampa.
One of the highlights of the conference is the $15,000 Global Pitch Competition. For the past few weeks, 100 student-entrepreneurs have been hard at work building their business profiles on the platform PitchPages. Twenty of the top 100 students will pitch live. These student-entrepreneurs will have 5 minutes to pitch their startup business ideas to a panel of judges, for a chance to win part of $15,000 in prize money. A sample of this year’s pitch competition submissions include:
· “Interplay” – a remote control dog crate attachment;
· “Folding Friend” – an automated clothing folding board that senses when an item is placed on the board;
· “Car Scent Club” – a subscription box for car scents;
· “Pure-Sipity” – the world’s first drug detecting bracelet;
· “TempaAssure Tongs” – cooking tongs with a built in thermometer.
Qualified investors are invited to attend the conference as spectators of the pitch competition. Registration closes on Oct. 25.
Coinciding with the Global Pitch Competition there will be two other competitions at the conference. These two competitions offer the chance to showcase and develop collegiate entrepreneurs’ skills with a chance to win cash prizes:
· Marketplace Simulation Challenge: Students attending the CEO Global Conference and Pitch Competition have the chance to compete in teams against one another for cash prizes. This is a half-day, fast-paced competition where teams compete within a simulated business ecosystem to start and manage their own businesses.
· Venture Valley E-Sports Tournament: Participants will play a match of the Venture Valley Game, picking one business and gaining the highest revenue within the five-minute match. The winner of the match will win a cash prize! All scores will be tallied on a leaderboard throughout the conference, and the winners will be announced on Oct. 30.
In an effort to create a more inclusive conference and to ensure that Black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) college students face no financial barriers in attending the conference, WaveBuilder is sponsoring a Black, Indigenous and People of Color Scholarship. This scholarship will cover the full registration cost of the Global Conference in Tampa for 20 BIPOC students.
The conference also features a university awards program where CEO will recognize the top chapters in the CEO network. The awards will include Outstanding CEO Chapter Leader, Global Chapter of the Year and many more.
The 2021 conference is sponsored by The University of Tampa, Amazon Web Service, (AWS) Hillsborough County EDi2, The John E. Hughes Foundation, Marketplace Simulations, WaveBuilder, Visit Tampa Bay, AAA and Texas Christian University.
According to James Zebrowski, executive director of CEO, the annual conference generates an economic impact of more than $530,000 for the Tampa Bay region and showcases Tampa and the Tampa Bay region as a favorable place to live, work and play to these collegiate entrepreneurs.
The Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO), based in The University of Tampa’s Lowth Entrepreneurship Center, a part of Sykes College of Business, is a 501(c)(3), not-for-profit corporation whose mission is to “inform, support and inspire college students to be entrepreneurial and to seek opportunity through enterprise creation.” From its inception in 1984, the organization has grown to approximately 16,500 members, representing nearly 250 college- and university-based chapters.