Students pitch business ideas for prizes, feedback |

Students pitch business ideas for prizes, feedback

Special to the Bonanza

First place winner Alden Spence accepts a check from SNC Faculty Advisor Ted Parkhill.

Last Thursday evening, Oct. 9, community members joined Sierra Nevada College students, faculty and staff to hear 11 students pitch business ideas to judges during the 2014 Sierra Nevada College Jâlé and Warren Trepp Pitch Competition.

The competition is the second in a multi-step process at SNC in which students from across disciplines develop innovative ideas and transform them into viable business plans.

In early September, 101 students entered the Innovative Ideas Contest and were judged on the overall viability of their ideas. Following last Thursday's Pitch Competition, the next step will be SNC's Jâlé and Warren Trepp Business Plan Competition on Feb. 24, 2015.

Students receive extensive feedback and mentoring throughout the process. The winners of the college's own Business Plan Competition become eligible for the statewide Donald W. Reynolds Governor's Cup and Lieutenant Governor's Cup Business Plan Competitions in late spring.

Last year, the SNC team — Solar Power Innovations — placed first statewide for undergraduates and went on to compete in the Reynolds Tri-State event against the winning teams from Nevada, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Last Thursday, first place and $500 went to senior Alden Spence for pitching Hydro UV, a water purification system to provide clean water in remote global areas.

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Second place and $250 went to sophomore Jackson Heath's pitch for Snow Brake, a braking system to prevent runaway snowboards, and third place went to senior Jake Bricklin, who pitched a business idea called Fun Pass, a system for matching excess event ticket inventory with potential attendees.

Spence and Bricklin are veterans of last year's statewide winning team.

Pitch Competition entrants were judged on idea content and pitch delivery by three successful entrepreneurs and business leaders. The judges were Incline Village residents Roland Schumann, co-founder of SwapDrive, a pioneer in the cloud storage industry; Janet Lowe, marketing executive and co-founder CPLEX, a software company; and Steve Lenzi, retired executive of the Automobile Club of Southern California, the nation's largest motor club.

This article was submitted to the Bonanza by Sierra Nevada College. Visit to learn more.