Career & Entrepreneurship Center

  CEC at St. Petersburg College


2015 Elevator Pitch Winners

Business Plan Winners:

    • Rebecca Rodriguez -1st Place - $5,000
    • Nykko Ford -2nd Place - $2,500

Elevator Pitch Winners:

    • Michael Ganote - 1st Place - $1,000
    • David Thut - 2nd Place - $500

People’s Choice Winner

    • Rebecca Rodriguez

Special Recognition Awards (alphabetical order):

    • Quentin Cumings - Social Entrepreneurship Concept
    • Kira Gilson - Golden Fund-Sustainable Concept - Triple Bottom Line Award
    • Kathleen Loney - Service Entrepreneurship
    • Luz Perry - Fitness & Health Concept

  • Sponsors
  • Prizes
  • Eligibility & Rules
  • Resources
  • Criteria/Judges
  • Previous Winners

Thank you to our sponsors:

Great Bay Distributors
Zilling Family Superior Uniform Group
Tri-Sense Golden Fund
A.D. Morgan Corporation Scarr
City of Seminole
lsg Ameriprise
Barnhorn Fiancial DeLoach and Hofstra, PA
Sandy Hartman & Associates Seminole Chamber
Regions Vernon Photography
JCL & Associates Rick Butler
Mallard Cengage Learning


Total cash prizes awarded up to $10,000:
Competition Category Prize Award Amount
Business Plan 1st Place $5,000
Business Plan 2nd Place $2,500
Elevator Pitch 1st Place $1,000
Elevator Pitch 2nd Place $500
Special Recognition Awards Awards (up to 4) $250 each

Eligibility and Rules

  • The competition is open to all current SPC full or part-time students enrolled in a degree or certificate program, and Early College students who meet the criteria.
  • All applications and submissions will be accepted online.
  • Non-students may be members of the management team and may have taken part in the planning of the venture but they are not eligible to present in the competition or receive prize money.
  • Eligible students may only submit one entry in the competition and MUST complete the Information Session online that will explain in detail the competition expectations and requirements and prepare students for successful competition.
  • Team submissions will be accepted but all team members must meet the criteria individually and any prizes for winning team entries will be divided equally between student presenters.
  • Students who graduated in preceding academic years (prior to the 2013-2014 academic year) are not eligible to participate.
  • The competition is for student created, managed, and owned ventures therefore students must have:
    1. played a major role in conceiving the venture
    2. an existing key management role in the business or proposed venture
    3. 50% or more equity in the venture
  • An equity position of less than 50% of the entity will be subject to verification of evidence showing that the student is a major contributor to the venture creation.
  • The business plan or elevator pitch must represent original work of the student entering the competition.
  • The competition is intended for new venture formations, start-ups, early growth stage businesses, or businesses undergoing diversification.
  • Semi-Finalists are required to attend the Mandatory Training Session on the SPC Seminole Campus.
  • The winning students will receive cash prizes and students are responsible for the tax implications of those prizes.
  • The winning students will be required to pick up their cash prize in person at the SPC Seminole Campus.
  • The winning students will also be required to provide an acknowledgment of receipt of the prize won. Student may also be required to attend a Thank You Luncheon for business partners and sponsors of the competition and entrepreneurship program.
  • Students who have previously participated in an SPC Business Plan & Elevator Pitch Competition and were selected in the finals for a category (i.e.- business plan or elevator pitch) may still compete in the other remaining category, or may be awarded special recognition.


Please contact us if you have any questions.

Meet the Judges

Tonya Elmore
President, TBIC- Tampa Bay Innovation Center

Ms. Elmore is a founder and the president of the STAR-TEC Enterprises, Inc. dba Tampa Bay Innovation Center. The Innovation Center, a not-for-profit that works with early-stage technology companies, is a regional, national and international known success story that has been in operation for nine years that continues to build momentum in Pinellas County, Florida.  Read More...

Dr. Cynthia Johnson, Ed. D
Senior Manager, PCED-Pinellas County Economic Development Center

Dr. Cynthia Johnson is the Center Director for the Florida Small Business December Center at Pinellas County Economic Development since 2000. FSBDC at PCED is a government funded business retention, expand and assistance agency, which promotes new and existing business development and expansion. Read More...

Mark E. Swanson
VP Bright House Networks

Mark Swanson is a serial technology entrepreneur who has successfully started and grown six multi-million dollar companies in the last twenty plus years. Most recently, Mark was the co-founder and CEO of Tampa-based, Telovations, a three time Inc. 500/5000 Company which was founded in 2006 and sold to Bright House Networks in December 2012. Mark has started and grown technology businesses in Atlanta, New York, Silicon Valley and Tampa Bay. Mark started his career in the United States Army where he commanded several military units including forming the first unit of Apache attack helicopters. Later, he managed several high tech projects as a test pilot. Read More...

Chuck Papageorgiou
CEO & Founder, International Screening Solutions Managing Partner, Ideasphere

Chuck Papageorgiou is the Co-Founder and CEO of International Screening Solutions a company that provides risk management services to the background screening industry, and the Founder and Managing Partner of Ideasphere — a company that specializes in the high-tech, light manufacturing, logistics, and financial services segments. He brings his global experience in technology and operations, both as a consultant and an executive, to actively assist senior executives of client companies with their organizational strategic challenges. Read More...

Judging Criteria

  • Innovativeness of Idea
  • Addresses Market Need
  • Uniqueness of Solution
  • Feasibility of Solution
  • Differentiation from Competition
  • Credible Industry Facts
  • Clear and Sizable Target Market
  • Passion and Presentation of Entrepreneur
  • Creative Marketing Strategy
  • Strength of Leadership Team
  • Profit Potential of Business Model and Sound Financial Plan
  • Implementable Project Management
  • Overall Promise of Concept

Fourth Annual Winners - 2014

2014 Competition Winners

2014 Competition Winners and Sponsors

Business Plan Winners:

  • James Finn -1st Place - $5,000
  • Dwain Ream – 2nd Place - $2,500

Elevator Pitch Winners:

  • Madison Miller – 1st Place - $1,000
  • Adria Bernstein -2nd Place - $500

Special Recognition Awards (alphabetical order):

  • Justin Blankenship – Internet/Web & Social Media Concept
  • Maureen Davis – Service Entrepreneurship
  • Donald Kiernan – Safety Concept
  • Melisa Maxey – Social Entrepreneurship Concept
  • Patricia Wing – Sustainable Business Concept

Third Annual Winners - 2013

2013 winners

Business Plan Winners:

  • Yvette Collins - 1st Place - $5,000
  • Chelsea Gibson - 2nd Place - $2,500

Elevator Pitch Winners:

  • Marie Rogers - 1st Place - $1,000
  • Stephanie Addis - 2nd Place - $500

Special Recognition Awards (alphabetical order):

  • Matthew Allan – Service Concept
  • Lisa Manners – Social/Community Entrepreneurship
  • Kyle McCormick – Innovative Educational Concept and Approach
  • Carl Thorne – Innovative Consumer Product

Second Annual Winners - 2012

2012 winners

Business Plan Winners:

  • Nicole Bredeson - 1st Place - $5,000
  • Sarah Godbey - 2nd Place - $2,000

Elevator Pitch Winners:

  • Josh Martin & Tomasz Symecki - 1st Place - $1,000
  • Michelle Whitley - 2nd Place - $500

Special Recognition Awards (alphabetical order):

  • Ricardo Colon – Internet/Web & Social Media Concept
  • Sarah Godbey – Best Consumer Product
  • Sammie Manning - Innovative Concept in Technology
  • Ellen Noel - Best Service Concept
  • Michelle Whitley – Fitness & Health Concept
  • Patricia Wing – Green Concept

First Annual Winners - 2011

2011 winners

Business Plan Winners:

  • Bonnie Lynch - 1st Place - $5,000
  • Deborah Jewel-Curreri - 2nd Place - $2,000

Elevator Pitch Winners:

  • Nicole Bredeson - 1st Place - $1,000
  • Marie Rogers - 2nd Place - $500

Special Recognition Awards (alphabetical order):

  • Domenic Caloia
  • Ricardo Carreno
  • Joseph Farrell
  • Bonnie Lynch
  • Kristie Mack
  • Luis Valle