For the first time in its four-year history, judges selected two
winning teams at Pirates Pitch, Seton Hall University’s venture fund
Mary Beliveau and David Kelly, seniors in the School of Diplomacy and
International Relations, won for Mazava Solar, a solar-powered mobile
phone charger specifically designed for use in developing countries.
Stillman School freshman Qingyu (Vito) Lu also won for his idea to open a Video
Game Console Café in his hometown in Nanjing, China.
Each team will receive nearly $5,000 and business services to assist in launching their companies.
"The SCORE mentors were extremely knowledgeable and generous with
both their time and experience. They were excited about our idea and
eager to help. We also worked closely with Stillman School professors,
who supported us every step of the way," noted Kelly, who is also the
brother to alumna, Megan Kelly, the first place winner of Pirates Pitch
On the question of how the team created the idea for Mazava Solar,
Beliveau replied, "My time in Madagascar exposed me to some of the
shortcomings of current approaches, and inspired me to look for a
sustainable solution. David and I have always discussed our belief in
free market mechanisms as the most efficient way to foster technology
transfer and improve the quality of life in developing areas."
According to the judges, the decision was based on which of the five
finalist teams were the most ready to move to the startup phase. "We
felt that Mazava Solar and Video Game Console Café best fit that
criteria," explained Bill Bartzak, president, CEO and founder of MD
On-Line. "Further, we felt both of these business ideas were equally
Steve Waldis, chairman and CEO, Synchronoss Technologies and a member
of the Seton Hall University Board of Regents, commented, "It was
amazing to see such a talented group of young men and women with ideas
and business plans in all industries with truly a global approach and
insight. The passion for the business shined through in their
There was also a tie for the Audience Choice award: Mazava Solar and
HorseDr.com, a web-based service to provide horse owners with more
efficient and lower cost veterinarian medical care, pitched by Stillman
sophomore Selene Presseller.
Joyce Strawser, dean of the Stillman School of Business commented, "I was so impressed by the quality of the business concepts and the
professionalism of the students' presentations. In talking with the
teams, it was apparent that participants benefitted greatly from the
mentoring provided by our entrepreneur volunteers. I especially enjoyed
seeing such a range of class years and disciplines represented."
"The Pirates Pitch contest points out how our students are channeling
their creativity and passions in entrepreneurship," said Susan
Scherreik, director of the Stillman School's Center for Entrepreneurial
Studies. "They are seeing problems in the world and coming up with smart
solutions to solve these obstacles. Also impressive is that our
students are not constrained in their entrepreneurial visions by
geography. Both our top winners have global business ideas."
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