October 2, 2018

Young Entrepreneurs Take Stage during SEC Pitch Competition at Texas A&M

Arkansas' Witness Martin (left) and Andrew Miles won the 2017 SEC Student Pitch Competition.
Arkansas' Witness Martin (left) and Andrew Miles won the 2017 SEC Student Pitch Competition.

By: SEC Staff
SECU (Twitter: @TheSECU)

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (October 2, 2018) – The SEC Student Pitch Competition gives undergraduate and graduate students from each SEC university a platform to present their innovative product ideas to a panel of judges comprised of established individuals in the business sector, including SEC alumni.

The 2018 event will be hosted by Texas A&M University in the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship in College Station, October 7-8. It will be the second time student teams from all 14 SEC universities gather on a campus to pitch their ideas, the first being at the University of Florida last year. The SEC competition was modeled after a similar event held during the 2015 SEC Symposium that focused on creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship.

“Competition is one of the most dynamic forms of collaboration within the SEC, and that includes academic competition,” said Dr. Torie A. Johnson, SEC Associate Commissioner for Academic Relations. “Anytime we are able to bring our students and administrators together, particularly on one of our campuses, it is an opportunity for growth and an investment in the future.”

SEC universities have placed an emphasis on creating environments that promote an entrepreneurial spirit in recent years. For example, the University of Georgia’s Entrepreneurship Program has helped UGA students launch more than 300 startup businesses, and according to the Journal of Small Business Management, Mississippi State University and Texas A&M are among the top ten universities in the world recognized for impactful entrepreneurship research.

The University of Arkansas recently opened the Brewer Family Entrepreneurship Hub to support students looking to make their mark in the business market, and the SEC Student Pitch Competition builds on those kinds of efforts. In fact, Arkansas students won the 2017 competition, and Texas A&M captured first prize during the SEC Symposium.

In addition to the competition, leaders of each SEC entrepreneurship or innovation center will also be on hand to support the student teams and to exchange best practices.

Erik Sander, Executive Director of the Florida Engineering Experiment Station and Michael Durham Director of the Florida Engineering Innovation Institute, said, “The SEC Student Pitch Competition will provide a snapshot of the products that the SEC innovation programs are developing, and it will be interesting to see the diversity of ideas that the students bring.”

The SEC Student Pitch Competition is one of several academic endeavors designed to support the teaching, research, service and economic development focus of the SEC’s 14 member universities.