The Expansion Cane Takes The Big Pitch Top Prize For Fall 2019

Nov. 26, 2019
expansion cane winners of pitch competition

On November 22 Eller College of Management student teams in the capstone course ENTR 485 Innovating: Creating the Future competed in a fast-paced pitch competition. The two winning teams took home cash prizes. 

The second place prize of $500 went to Avocado Jones, an eco-friendly company that strives to make an impact on the environment through the production of biodegradable shipping packages. 

The first place prize of $1,000 went to The Expansion Cane, an innovation that combines the multi-level adjustment of the standard cane, with a spring-loaded; single hand activated, support mechanism to aid users while reaching toward the ground. 

Teams from nine sections competed in The Big Pitch Fall 2019. In addition to the winning teams, the other finalists were:

  • The Scholarly Politician, a news website and app that provides Americans with unbiased and honest facts on politicians voting records and platforms, political debates, and other political events. Our goal is to help inform Americans so that they will make educated decisions when choosing their candidates and voting in elections.
  • Jumpr, an innovative company which provides mechanics at a moment’s notice. 
  • Contain’d, which uses the extra space in the community members' homes to lower costs and increase scalability for storage seekers across Tucson. The AirBnb of personal storage.
  • DoDate, an app that seamlessly integrates all class syllabi into one mobile calendar and has the ability to send reminders for upcoming due dates.
  • Menu 4 You, which brings social dining together again, offering customized menu and dinning opportunities for people with specific allergies and food preferences.
  • DUAL, a vertically divided two-compartment, stainless steel bottle capable of keeping beverages hot and cold simultaneously.
  • Labor for Shelter Exchange, a nonprofit that is focused on providing impoverished individuals with the resources necessary to succeed.

Meet the judges:

  • Cortez Smith: Cortez has 20 years of corporate IT work experience in the areas of Supply Chain, Systems Integration, Program and Project Management, Management Consulting and Technical Writing. He is also an experienced Higher Education professional with over 16 years work experience at the University of Arizona. In his current role, Cortez manages graduate student consulting teams and corporate relationships. He is responsible for the delivery and oversight of IT-specific consulting projects. Cortez a member of the University of Arizona Foundation Board and is also the immediate Past Chairman of the University of Arizona Alumni Association Governing Board. He holds an MBA with concentrations in Management Information Systems, Marketing and Entrepreneurship and a B.S. in Business Administration where he majored in Finance with a concentration in Real Estate and Regional Development all from the University of Arizona.
  • Amanda Holbert: Amanda Holbert is an Award-Winning Serial Entrepreneur and Eller Alumni. Specializing in Manufacturing, Intellectual Property, Business Start Up and Government Contracting. After 14 years of successful boot strapping, she recently sold her two companies Elegant Iron, LLC and PlasmaGlide, LLC. Her awards include Manufacturer of the Year 2012, Woman Business Owner of the Year 2015 and Woman of Influence 2018.
  • Vanessa Valenzuela: Vanessa Valenzuela graduated with a BSBA in Management and Entrepreneurship and decided to pursue her Masters in Higher Education. She has over 4 years of experience in Higher Education from working with first-generation and underserved students, parents and counselors. While pursuing her Master’s degree, she is also working with her team from the Entrepreneurship program to continue to develop their venture, Guided and most recently was recognized for two top prizes at the Ideafunding pitch competition at the TENWEST Impact Festival.


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