Honors Students Score High in Statewide Pitch Competition

Above: Professor Lancie Affonso ’96 with students Maxwell Vittorio, Nicholas Bove and Bo Dwyer of Sail Shade.

Pitch competitions can be nerve-racking, especially when you’re pitching to an audience of over 200 people with judges watching intently and cash prizes on the line. That’s part of why it’s so impressive that five student teams from the College of Charleston made it to the semi-final round of SC Innovates 2022 – a statewide pitch competition. Out of 76 entries, five CofC teams were among the final 15. And in the end, Cougar teams placed fourth and fifth, with another team earning an Honorable Mention.

This annual event, which took place on Nov. 16, 2022, tasks students across the Palmetto State with developing solutions to some of the world’s most challenging problems. It draws entries from up to 16 universities, including undergraduate and graduate schools. This year, over $12,000 in cash prizes were at stake, along with statewide bragging rights.

According to David Wyman, who directs the College’s Center for Entrepreneurship, this is “a big deal. Having five teams place in the top 15 with 14 other universities competing is a tribute to the exceptional entrepreneurial zeal of our students.” He added that all of the CofC teams were interdisciplinary with each one including at least one major from outside the School of Business.

Bo Dwyer, Nicholas Bove and Maxwell Vittorio, all first-year Honors College students, won fourth place and $1,000 in the contest, with their pitch of Sail Shade. Their concept utilizes repurposed sails that are ordinarily thrown away by the owners of racing sailboats to create umbrellas. The resulting product, says Dwyer, would be stronger and last longer than conventional umbrellas because it would be made from sail material containing Kevlar and carbon fibers. In their pitch, the students emphasized that keeping these sails out of landfills helps to address United Nations Sustainable Development Goal No. 12 – responsible consumption and production.


To learn more about how Honors students fared at the 2022 SC Innovates pitch competition, check out the full article by Dan Dickison in the College Today!

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