The Gary W. Rollins College of Business Department of Marketing and Entrepreneurship, the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and the UTC E-Club hosted the 2020 Southeast Entrepreneurship Conference (SEEC) on the UTC campus Feb. 29 through March 1.
Students from UTC and from college and universities around the southeast participated in the two-day event. Students heard from industry leaders on topics such as starting a CBD-based business, social mission ventures, leveraging gifts and passions in a start up, and how to succeed as an early stage start up. Many students also participated in a pitch contest where they were able to win prize money to put towards their venture ideas.
SEEC is a student-focused, regional entrepreneurship conference. UTC was thrilled to host the conference for the fourth year in a row in Chattanooga with support provided by the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization.
“We welcome the opportunity that SEEC affords us to share the great city of Chattanooga and our UTC campus with students from all around the southeast,” said Libby Santin, Director of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UTC. “Our event this past weekend showcased some fantastic speakers and highly relevant topics along with great networking opportunities.”
During lunch, attendees heard from Kevin Zhang, a serial eCommerce entrepreneur and the CEO of Kreator eCommerce. Kevin achieved acclaim in the digital strategy and eCommerce community for generating $20M in sales in his first year as an entrepreneur. Aside from managing his business, Kevin is an advocate for eCommerce education and has provided mentorship to thousands of students around the world.
The conference was attended not only by students and faculty advisors from Tennessee, but also Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Kentucky.
“The students in the SEEC pitch competition this year were truly impressive,” said Dr. Thomas Lyons, Clarence E. Harris Chair of Excellence in Entrepreneurship at UTC. “The quality of the business concepts was strong, the pitches were smooth and professional, and the way in which the student entrepreneurs fielded questions from the judges demonstrated their deep knowledge of their businesses. Kudos to the competitors and their mentors.”
Over 25 businesses were represented in the pitch competition, during which students presented their new venture ideas in 90 seconds. Contestants were coached and critiqued by local entrepreneurship professionals. The winners of the 2020 SEEC Pitch Competition are:
1st Place: ARMS Cyber Defense – Bradley and Timothy Potteiger – Vanderbilt University: ARMS Cyber Defense revolutionizes the cyber security
industry, securing the most critical infrastructure against hostile nation-states around the world.
2nd Place: Birthday Candles for Kids – Chelsea Hage – Stetson University: Birthday Candles for Kids is a non-profit that organizes fully personalized birthday parties for homeless and fostered children.
3rd Place: Loop Transportation, Inc. – Grant Stafford – UTC Gary W. Rollins College of Business: Loop Transportation is a freight broker that uses technology to simplify and streamline its customer’s supply chains by implementing technology that is solving problems of both big and small shippers.