HCC PitchFest Competition & EXPO

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HCC PitchFest Competition & EXPO

HCC (Houston Community College) Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship Celebrates Another Successful Student Pitch Competition in Summer Semester 

Houston, July 29, 2023 – In collaboration with partners, the HCC Office of Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship proudly announces the successful conclusion of its latest Student Pitch Competition, held as part of the Summerfest Expo at HCC West Loop Campus. The event highlighted our students' exceptional talent and innovation, fostering entrepreneurship and presenting groundbreaking ideas. 

The winners of this semester's Student Pitch Competition are as follows: 

  • 1st Place: Pranjal Sheth, Sarah Grace, and Daniel Kalathoor for their revolutionary project, LiQuidium. This groundbreaking innovation presents an ingenious membrane technology to extract lithium from geothermal brines, unlocking a sustainable and abundant source of this essential metal while enabling geothermal operators to operate with increased efficiency. 
  • 2nd Place (Tied): Nicolas Canales takes the second spot with his project, Everything Cyberpunk, offering an immersive virtual realm to discover the hidden treasures of Nagano Prefecture, redefining the future of travel and entertainment. 
  • 2nd Place (Tied): Emily Uzner and Makayla Hall secured the tied second position with their innovative app, Wanderer's Watch, designed to assist users in navigating the wilderness responsibly and safely while minimizing their carbon footprint. 

The top 7 ideas also included: 

  • ExtroWeapon USP, promoting responsible gun ownership and enhancing gun safety to contribute to reducing gun violence in a unique and multifaceted way using fingerprint and voice sensors. 
  • Sound Radius, A SaaS (software as a service) videoconferencing platform with Radius Mode, crafted for academia, facilitating seamless communication and engagement between educators and students. 
  • SellGet, the bridge connecting the United States with the Middle East and North Africa, supporting international trade and business expansion across borders. 
  • Spark Sync, the use of deep generative A.I (Artificial Intelligence). to compare rates and offers from energy providers to save around 30% off energy bills. 

The SW Center for Entrepreneurship would like to extend its heartfelt appreciation to the esteemed faculty mentors, including Jeff Stear (Engineering), Bryan Bauhs (Art), Elvedina Mansoor (Biology), and many others, who selflessly dedicated their time and expertise to guide and support the participating students. In addition, the Pitchfest Committee members, Mr. Richard Goselin, Dr. Danielle Stagg, Dr. Mia Taylor, and Mr. James Duvall, deserve special acknowledgment for their invaluable contributions in organizing and orchestrating this successful event. Also, Masroor Fatany, Owner of The Halal Guys Houston Restaurants for generously sponsoring the delicious food served during the event. His support contributed to creating a memorable and enjoyable experience for all the participants and attendees. 

The judging panel for the competition consisted entirely of accomplished women, showcasing the diverse expertise and contributions of women in the business and technology world. The panel included Dr. Mia Taylor, Business Technology Department Chair; Lisa Brunet, co-founder of Innovation Spark and representative of DLZP Group; Jada Harris, a SCORE Houston Mentor and successful business owner; and Pavani Parupudi & Shilpa Nistane from Unite and Inspire, a local non-profit organization. 

The competition's keynote welcome was delivered by Mr. Willy Verbrugghe, former SCORE Houston Chairman, who provided invaluable insights and local resources to inspire the students in their entrepreneurial pursuits. 

Houston Community College is proud to celebrate the success of the Student Pitch Competition and congratulates all the participants for their remarkable ideas and hard work. "These talented students exemplify the spirit of innovation and dedication that our institution nurtures, and we are confident that they will continue to make a significant impact in their respective fields," says Ravi Brahmbhatt, HCC Director. 

For more information about Houston Community College West Loop Campus and its entrepreneurial initiatives, please visit www.hccs.edu/sw-entrepreneurship & www.hccs.edu/pitch 

The Student Pitch Competition took place on July 29th, 2023, from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., witnessing an impressive display of talent, creativity, and determination among our student participants. 

See Photos: https://photos.app.goo.gl/ihuL8PDBPqjKiH5L6 

Watch the Recap of the Summfest EXPO and Pitch Competition: 

HCC Summer 2023 PitchFest competition & Expo is designed for students to share their creative ideas and innovation projects.


The HCC  PitchFest Competition for Summer 2023 allows students to share their creative ideas and innovations.

Up to $2,000 for cash prizes sponsored by Southwest Center for Entrepreneurship!

The competition is designed to explore innovative approaches to answering pressing societal needs and spark an atmosphere of social dialogue and community. Students must complete a simple application regarding their idea that addresses one of the categories listed below:

HCC PitchFest Competition accepts student projects/startups from midnight from June 1st to July 14th!

The competition Finalists' Presentation and Awards Ceremony will be held at the West Loop Campus on Saturday, July 29th, 2023, between 1 pm to 3 pm. Note: On the same day, a Student Showcase Expo will occur from 10 am to 12 pm, and Lunch and Learn Panels from 12 pm to 1:00 pm.

The HCC PitchFest Competition aims to provide financial and institutional support for students who want to impact the world through entrepreneurship. HCC is eager to harness the creativity and passion of Houston's student body to catalyze social change.

Note: Click on the ⊕ icon to see more

More about the competition

General information

The HCC PitchFest competition is designed for students to share and showcase their creative ideas and innovation projects. Individuals or teams can compete in the competition by delivering a pitch to a panel of judges. Students should pitch a product or service that explores innovative approaches to answering pressing sustainability and societal needs.


Schedule of Workshops/Training events

PITCHFEST@HCC On-Demand Training Sessions:

YouTube Playlist URL: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLQgRmZVfvesswHFipo2SYxEIAJ1N-QlkS


IDEATION Training by Accenture's Innovation Director, Summer Reeves! 


  • Sources of information and research
  • Process for coming up with great ideas
  • Learn about Design Thinking 

About Speaker: Summer Reeves is the Innovation Center Director for Accenture’s Houston Innovation Hub. Her teams work with clients daily to identify their challenges, provide industry thought leadership, and visualize how cutting-edge technology is applied, enabling organizations to accelerate their innovation and transformation agendas. Summer has over 13 years of experience in digital product design with a heavy focus on design thinking methods and user experience practices.

PRESENTATION Training by HCC Foundation's Board President, David Regenbaum!


  • What is a Pitch?
  • Tips and Suggestions on Pitching an Idea
  • Examples of great pitches

About Speaker: David Regenbaum serves as the Entrepreneur in Residence for Houston Community College’s Center for Entrepreneurship and is the Vice President of the Houston Community College Foundation.  He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Silver Fox Advisors and is the Managing Member of AMI Institute, LLC.   He was previously the CEO and Co-Founder (with his wife) of Association Management, Inc. (AMI), a successful community association management company that he sold in 2014, and he practiced as an attorney in South Africa until he immigrated to the USA in 1979.

LEAN STARTUP WEBINAR Training by SCORE Education VP, Jim O'Sullivan!


  • What is a Lean Startup?
  • Tips and Suggestions on its use
  • dos and don’ts of its application

About Speaker: Jim O'Sullivan, SCORE Mentor; VP Education Jim O’Sullivan is a retired CTO from an Energy Fortune 500 company with a broad range of expertise in technology, strategy, product development, marketing, and mentoring/coaching. He is associated with several incubator and accelerator programs in Houston through mentoring and business plan judging. He holds three engineering degrees and an MBA.


SPRING 2023 Live Sessions: 

  1. CCIC at HCC - Student Innovation Challenge - LEARN MORE & REGISTER HERE
  2. DESIGNATHON@HCC - Student Hackathon - APRIL 1st & April 2nd - WHI - REGISTER HERE




Judging Criteria

The criteria are based on solving the societal need that has high impact (affects many), sustainable (Eco-friendly/Green), creates value or fills a gap, and can (or has) be prototyped, tested, or validated.

Ideas will be judged on the following primary criteria:

  • Social Impact (Number of people impacted or lives affected)
  • Economic Impact (value creation)
  • Environmental Impact (Sustainability/Green Footprint)
  • Completeness/Delivery(Presentation/Team)
  • The originality of Idea (Ownership/IP by the student(s))


Student requirements

1. Provide a Pitch Presentation. 
(Download a sample template)

2. Provide a Visual Concept of the idea, if applicable

  • Photo/Drawing/Other
  • 3d Printed Sample or design

 3. Develop a short video* pitch (Optional - but recommended)

  • Post it on YouTube as a public video or an unlisted video

*Need help recording your pitch?

Visit the HCC One Button Studio at any of the following campus libraries:

  • HCC Spring Branch Campus
  • HCC Central Campus Library
  • HCC Alief Hayes - West Houston Insititute Learning Commons


READY? Let's Go

Complete the PitchFest Competition Application Below:

Please read the instructions carefully and stay within the guidelines.

HCC reserves the right to disqualify any miscategorized or incomplete entries.

NOTE: If you are selected as a winner and awarded cash prizes and/or an internship and/or access to an accelerator program, please be aware that you are responsible for making the necessary arrangements to commence the opportunity in a timely manner. Once you start your opportunity, it is understood that you will abide by the terms and conditions of the program as required by your host organization.

Furthermore, by participating in the competition, you agree to release and hold HCC, its officers, directors, employees, agents, and contractors harmless from any and all losses, damages, rights, and actions of any kind (including reasonable attorneys’ fees) in connection with or resulting from, participation in the competition including—without limitation—personal injuries, death, property damages and any claims by third parties or otherwise based on publicity rights, defamation, copyright, trademark, invasion of privacy or other violations of law relating to your participation in the competition or its opportunities.

For more information, call the Office of Student Innovation & Entrepreneurship at 713.718.5269 or email: ravi.brahmbhatt@hccs.edu

HCC IDEAS Competition events schedule, rules, awards, and this page was updated on 02/22/2022.

Check out the Past competitions and winners:


Check out the videos/pictures from Inventathon@HCC: