Nearly 1,000 student entrepreneurs and their faculty advisers will be in downtown Tampa next week for the 36th annual Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO) Global Conference and Pitch Competition.
The conference will be held Oct. 31 to Nov. 2, 2019, at the Tampa Marriott Water Street.
Attendees will network with other entrepreneurial-minded students and listen to presentations from seasoned entrepreneurs, subject matter experts, motivational speakers and fellow students who seek to be one of the transformative entrepreneurs of tomorrow.
Keynote speakers at this year’s conference include: Jules Pieri, founder and CEO of The Grommet; Kyle Taylor, founder and CEO of the Penny Hoarder; Thad Tarkington, co-founder and CEO of Second Nature (formerly, FilterEasy); Tony DiBenedetto, founder and former CEO of Tri-Bridge; Steve Sheetz, Sheetz Fuel Centers; and Jonathan Messinger, former CEO of EY Management Consulting (Southeast Asia).
University of Tampa alumnus and former athlete Dan Soviero, founder and CEO of Signature Lacrosse, will also speak. His company currently sees revenues nearing $3 million.
In addition to these keynote speakers, the conference will feature an additional 50 subject-matter experts on a variety of business-related topics.
One of the highlights of the conference is the CEO Global Pitch Competition, where 80 student entrepreneurs will have 90 seconds to pitch their startup business ideas to a panel of judges for a chance to win part of $15,000 in prize money. A sample of this year’s pitch competition submissions include:
- “Yard Service in a Box” — a “one-stop shop” style package designed to help teenagers start their own yard-service business.
- “Birthday Candles for Kids” — a nonprofit that throws fully personalized birthday parties for homeless, fostered and orphaned children.
- “Verapy” — redefines physical and occupational therapy through virtual reality games, resulting in better patient outcomes.
- “Soundless Sleep” — a noise-cancelling pillow for anyone who struggles to fall asleep with loud background noise.
- “Click: Assistive Technology” — a tool designed to assist blind or otherwise visually impaired individuals safely check the level of liquid in a container.
Qualified investors are invited to attend the conference as spectators of the pitch competition.
The 2019 conference is sponsored by Enterprise Rent-a-Car, The University of Tampa, Hillsborough County EDi2, The John E. Hughes Foundation, Marketplace Simulations, Klaviyo, Texas Christian University, the University of Florida and the Penny Hoarder.
According to James Zebrowski, executive director of CEO, the annual conference generates an economic impact of more than $530,000 for the Tampa Bay region and showcases Tampa and the Tampa Bay region as a favorable place to live, work and play to these collegiate entrepreneurs.
For more information, contact Zebrowski at [email protected]. Registration for the conference closes on Oct. 30.
The Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO) — based in The University of Tampa’s Lowth Entrepreneurship Center, a part of Sykes College of Business — is a 501(c)(3), not-for-profit corporation whose mission is to “inform, support and inspire college students to be entrepreneurial and to seek opportunity through enterprise creation.” From its inception in 1984, the organization has grown to approximately 16,500 members, representing nearly 250 college- and university-based chapters.
The University of Tampa is a private, comprehensive university located on 110 acres on the riverfront in downtown Tampa. Known for academic excellence, personal attention and real-world experience in its undergraduate and graduate programs, the University serves approximately 9,600 students from all 50 states and 132 countries. Approximately 65 percent of full-time students live on campus, and more than half of UT students are from Florida.