SLU Student Team Honored at Regional Entrepreneurship Competition
Two Saint Louis University students walked away with the Audience Choice Award and a cash prize at a local entrepreneurship contest last week when they pitched their mobile app that helps users have new experiences and find new friends in their area.
Chaifetz School of Business entrepreneurship student Michael Orosz-Fagen and computer science student Stuart Ray pitched the app, Mesh.
“Mesh is all about real and authentic connection," the product description reads. "We want to make it easier and faster for you to meet new people. We want you to be able to use Mesh as a tool that connects you with other people. Mesh does this by pairing you with three other people who have liked the same places as you and then sending you to that place.”
The Shark Tank-style pitch contest, held Thursday, April 13, at Venture Cafe in the Cortex district, was the first hosted by the St. Louis Regional Entrepreneurship Educators organization. STLREE is a collaborative effort between several St. Louis area universities and colleges, including Saint Louis University’s Chaifetz Center for Entrepreneurship.
Students representing nine higher education institutions brought their ideas and presented their business plans, with the opportunity to take home prizes of $3,000, $2,000, and $1,000 for finishing first, second and third, respectively.
The competition was judged by a team of eight local business leaders and entrepreneurs. At the night's end, attendees chose Michael and Stuart’s pitch as the Audience Choice Award winner, and they took home a $500 prize.
Michael says the competition was a great experience for the team.
“It was a great introduction to how college students are currently building the future,” he said. “We enjoyed putting our app to the test. We had great feedback from the audience and our fellow competitors that they wanted to use our app.”
The app is in a beta test that is only open to SLU students, but the team has plans to open it to a broader audience over time.
“Events like the STLREE pitch competition are great opportunities for our students to engage and embed with leading entrepreneurs, investors and influencers in our local business ecosystem,” Chaifetz Center for Entrepreneurship Director Lewis Sheats said. “SLU is right at the center of a great system of resources and programs in the St. Louis region that help foster this kind of innovation, and it’s wonderful to see our students recognized for their creativity and talent in that arena.”
Founded in 1910, the Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business at Saint Louis University has shaped the future of industry for more than a century. As one of the oldest business schools west of the Mississippi, the Chaifetz School has built a reputation as a leader in business education committed to innovation, inclusion and impact and recognized with eight undergraduate and graduate programs nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report.