GCC Students Advance to Finals in Business Competition
GROVE CITY, Pa. – Grove City College entrepreneurship majors Hannah Vaccaro and Ross Harrington made the final round in the EIX’s e-Fest National Business Plan Competition, in Minneapolis April 6 to 8.
Vaccaro and Harrington’s pitch for PeeWee Packs, a toilet training aid, earned them one of 25 spots in the competition, out of 160 teams from 81 schools that submitted videos and slides describing their business ideas to a panel of 32 judges.
PeeWee Packs contain dissolvable, flushable blank sheets of film that expose colorful designs when children successfully use the toilet. The idea is to make potty-training “an exciting game of surprise instead of an otherwise mundane task,” said Vaccaro in a news release.
The pair took their inspiration from an idea Harrington worked on while taking a Lean LaunchPad class taught by Yvonne English, executive director of the Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at Grove City College, who accompanied them on the trip. When researching the viability of his team’s plans for a men’s urinal game utilizing similar technology, Harrington came up with the PeeWee Packs’ idea.
“A potential customer suggested the product be incorporated into potty training boys, which then led to the pivot of the idea to ‘PeeWee Points,’ a potty training tool for boys. Since then, we have adjusted the idea to be universal for both boys and girls, increasing the market size and providing a very unique training tool,” Vaccaro said in a release.
At the competition they were chosen to participate in the final round with four other teams, and presented in front of a panel of judges including Richard M. Schulze, founder and chairman emeritus of Best Buy, Inc.
Before the main event, students from all of the qualifying schools participated in an innovation challenge, where they had three hours to put together a business model and presentation on how to solve a problem in the world using autonomous technology.
Harrington was part of the team that won first place in the innovation challenge, which came with a $20,000 prize.
The event also featured workshops and keynote speeches from Schulze and “Shark Tank” regular Daymond John, founder of FUBU.
The event was sponsored by EIX (Entrepreneur and Innovation Exchange), an online resource that aims to raise the success rate of new business ventures.
Pictured: Hannah Vaccaro and Ross Harrington.
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