Union College Hosts Inaugural Business Pitch Competition

CRANFORD, NJ -Union College of Union County, New Jersey hosted its first Business Pitch Competition at the College’s Cranford Campus. More than twenty Union students submitted a business proposal for the competition, with eleven accepted to enter the main competition and pitch to the five judges.

From Left to Right: 3rd place winner Tyler Farrar, 2nd place winner Anais Santacruz, 1st place winner Nicholas Mont.
From Left to Right: 3rd place winner Tyler Farrar, 2nd place winner Anais Santacruz, 1st place winner Nicholas Mont.

All Union students were welcomed to participate in the Pitch Competition. To qualify, students were required to attend workshops across an eight-week period. Students who attended at least 75% of the workshops received a stipend and a laptop.

After students submitted proposals, a panel of faculty and academic specialists at Union reviewed the submissions and decided who would move on in the Pitch Competition. Eleven students were selected and pitched to the panel of five judges who work in the business industry. The judges included: Denise Fernandes, Director of Women Economic Forum for New Jersey 2023 and a Member of White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity Excellence and Economic Opportunity for Hispanics; Andrew Hurdle, Senior Product Portfolio Manager at Ansell Healthcare; Muhammad Khan, Principal Examiner with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority; F. Jim Della Sala, Senior Vice President for Investors Bank and Union County College Foundation Board member; and Rory Wilson, Executive Relationship Manager at Discover. Judging criteria included the pitch’s economic potential, clear description and explanation of the business idea, the potential to attract investors, and more.   

Nicholas Mont came out on top, winning first-place and a $6000 prize to advance his business concept. Mont’s winning pitch addressed the issue of food waste. His proposal was to dehydrate unused food to feed those in need with highly nutritious food. The slogan for his concept was, “dehydrated food is healthy, delicious, and a sustainable solution to end world hunger.” Union’s Bloomberg Business Club President Anais Santacruz earned a second-place finish and received $4000 for her idea of FleaCycle which was focused on recycled fashion. Tyler Farrar earned a third-place finish and received $2000 for his pitch to empower and financially educate youth worldwide with his concept of “money on the way.” Funding for this opportunity was provided by the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund grant: Opportunity Meets Innovation Challenge (OMIC), which cultivates innovation, research, and talent. 

“We are proud of these creative students who took the time to develop their business ideas. We are also grateful to receive an OMIC grant to further our student’s entrepreneurial dreams. Giving our students the opportunity to develop their businesses and receive feedback from real working professionals is something they can take with them as they continue to pursue their goals,” stated Union’s President Dr. Margaret M. McMenamin.

The Pitch Competition was spearheaded by Dr. Donovan Smalls, Union’s Director of the Business Center. The Business Center, which features Bloomberg Terminals, benefits students majoring in business, business management, business marketing, accounting, supply chain management, blockchain, esports, sport management, and hotel, restaurant, and tourism management. For more information on the Business Center and the Pitch Competition, go to https://www.ucc.edu/business-center/

Union is a public, comprehensive community college that provides quality, affordable, accessible educational programs to the greater Union County region. It is the first of New Jersey’s 18 two-year colleges, serving both career-minded and transfer-oriented students since 1933. The College offers a wide variety of academic and extracurricular activities. Union provides many experiential learning opportunities such as access to a Bloomberg Business Center, Innovation Center, and Student Research hub. Additionally, students at Union attend one of the top 25 community colleges in the country for 2023 as designated by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program.