Camillo Lazarczyk wins BizPitch 2017

Student entrepreneurs compete for prizes

Madison Weaver, News Co-Editor

Camillo Lazarczyk ’21 walked away from BizPitch 2017 as a first place winner with $3,000 to put towards his business, Shoulder Savior. Lazarczyk and five other groups of finalists presented their startup ideas to a panel of five University alumni.

The five judges included Bryan Urioste ’97, Jennifer Mellon ’04, Richard Pisano, Jr. ’82, Lois Gregory ’13, and Michael Malin ’92. After remarks from Small Business Development Center Director (SBDC) Steven Stumbris, University President John Bravman, and Mellon, the teams were introduced by Sami Golaski ’18.

In a room filled with students and faculty, the finalists pitched their businesses, applications, programs, and products to the panel in a five-minute presentation. Afterward, the judges asked additional questions and offered advice on how the students can grow and improve their ideas.

After all of the presentations finished, the judges left the room to deliberate. According to BizPitch’s website, up to 10 points can be awarded in six categories: articulating the problem, describing the market, feasibility of the business, delivery of the pitch, and the innovation of the idea.

The first group pitched Pop-On-Market, a storefront in downtown Lewisburg, and potentially other small towns, that would offer a pop-up store where existing brands can sell their products for a short period of time and create a fresh shopping experience. The business was pitched by Jack Chambers ’19, Emma Irwin ’19, Mary Margaret Kenney ’18, Ellie McLaughlin ’19, and Paige Philipps ’19, and the team received the Social Media Star and Fan Favorite awards.

Next, Reachout presented their idea for a community service platform that would help volunteers find non-profit organizations and causes by streamlining the process of finding and applying to service opportunities. Pitched by Luke Hartman ’20, Andrew Jobling ’18, Josh Popkin ’18, and Nicole Snyder ’21, the team received the first ever Change Maker award. This new award is given to the team that has “the potential to have the greatest possible impact in the world,” according to Stumbris.

Selvage, which took second place in the competition, was pitched by Caldwell Harden ’19, Claire Helmers ’19, Simran Jangra ’20, and Amanda Solomon ’18. Selvage is a service that works to restyle and repurpose garments to extend their wearability and reduce waste, as well as offer a sustainable clothing line focused on essential garments.

BU Bite presented their food delivery application that would connect consumers, drivers, and local restaurants for delivery services, utilizing user profiles and ratings. Pitched by Martin Davalos ’19, Alex Kim ’20, and Brandyn Moore ’19, it would start in the Lewisburg area and expand to other college towns.

Erin Ditmar ’18 and Madison Fink ’18 presented their idea for Next Generation Storage, a platform that would connect individuals with extra storage space with those seeking shorter-term storage. The concept, compared to Airbnb, saves space and offers an alternative to traditional storage units for University students in Lewisburg and other college towns. The team won third place for their pitch.

However, it was Lazarczyk’s Shoulder Savior pitch that earned the first place prize.

“I am an adamant believer in entrepreneurship and so getting involved with BizPitch was a natural fit,” Lazarczyk said. To prepare, Lazarczyk spent hours on his presentation and took advantage of opportunities offered by the University’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC), such as meeting with an alum and rehearsing with and gaining advice from the SBDC staff to improve his pitch.

“Individually, I did extensive research into the expansion of Shoulder Savior,” Lazarczyk said. “Before giving my pitch, I made sure to know everything about the product, so I could speak to the judges naturally with ease and confidence.”

During his pitch, Lazarczyk said his idea was inspired by watching his friends place pool noodles covered with duct tape around the straps of their hockey bags to add comfort when carrying the heavy bags.

Lazarczyk and his partner created the Shoulder Savior — a small cylinder piece of foam wrapped in fabric – to be removable and stylish while still providing relief from heavy, uncomfortable bags. Shoulder Savior has already sold around 4,500 units to hockey pro shops and is working to grow their online sales and presence.

“It is such an honor to win first place. I am thrilled to be given this chance to grow Shoulder Savior into new markets as a recognizable product,” Lararzcyk said. “I cannot wait to take advantage of the many opportunities that will come from this and to receive advice and help from mentors I have gained.”

BizPitch is directed by the University’s SBDC, which assists entrepreneurs at the University and throughout the region in developing the knowledge and skills to succeed. In addition to the six awards presented, each finalist team receives a membership to StartupLewisburg, a business incubator for innovators in downtown Lewisburg.

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