Spring 2021 Pitch Competition

HCC IDEAS Pitch Competition - Spring 2021



Students Pitch Innovation at HCC IDEAS Competition

HOUSTON (June 1) – On May 20, the Houston Community College Office of Entrepreneurial Initiatives, the HCC Foundation, the Department of Speech & Communications, and the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences hosted the IDEAS Pitch Virtual Competition. The IDEAS@HCC Pitch competition allowed students to share their creative ideas and social innovations. The competition was designed to explore innovative approaches to answering pressing societal needs and to spark an atmosphere of social dialogue and community.

The judging criteria for the entries were social impact, economic impact, environmental impact, completeness of the pitch, and originality. One first-place winner and two second and third-place winners received monetary awards totaling $3,500 for college tuition and school supplies. Other non-monetary prizes included in-kind credits for Amazon Web Services (AWS) for all 16 student finalist teams. Those teams also qualified for $1,000 in AWS credits from AWS University. 

The first-place winner was Elanie Vo, a student from Dulles High School in Fort Bend ISD. She was awarded $1,500 for her Industrifilm pitch. Industrifilm is a step up from traditional solar panels that is adhesive, a transparent film consisting of two layers, UV protectant, and solar cells, that collect and convert solar energy into eco-friendly electricity.

One of the $750 second place awards went to HCC Engineering student Cyrus Abasi for a Carbon Capture Catalyst System (CCCS). CCCS can produce methane for power production out of waste product, carbon dioxide. The second $750 award winner went to the team Student Power. This team included Juan Rodriguez, Emiliano Lovato, Marcos Ortiz, Danoush Mohasel, and Dhruv Saligram. They created an online platform connecting students to high-quality, one-on-one tutoring services. This platform allows high school students to earn community service hours by becoming tutors to younger students who need academic help. 

The first $250 third place award winner went to Bio Bite, created by the five-member team of Enay Bhatnagar, Kushal Ambatipudi, Saahil Momin, Maria Masood, and Cherrene Framo. These students combined the needs of the environment and man’s best friend to create the ultimate dog toy that extends biodegradable standards and enhances puppy-teething skills, while generating fun for pets.

The other third place winners were Deborah Akran & Mariana Saldana, a two-member team of HCC Computer Science majors from Katy. The two created the Houston Almanac, a multi-lingual website and social media platform that supports minorities, by providing better access to career and job opportunity information.

"We congratulate our finalists and winners and will offer them mentoring, guidance, and support to help them turn their ideas into small businesses," said Ravi Brahmbhatt, HCC Director of Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “We’re also excited about the Fall semester competition that will be sponsored by McNair Center for Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurism. Plus, BMC Software is donating $2,350 for Student Hackathons, which are training sessions for the competition.” 

Keynote speakers for the competition were past participants Kanisha Ffriend and Luisa Nadarajah. This semester’s judges were Dr. Maya Durnovo, Chief Entrepreneurial Initiatives Officer at HCC; David Regenbaum, entrepreneur-in-residence and board chairman, HCC Foundation; Suzette Brimmer, HCC dean of Consumer Arts and Science; Amy Henry, CPA and CEO of Eunike Ventures; Amy Tan, HCC dean of English and Communications; and Ned Mueller, HCC veteran entrepreneur-in-residence.

“I was delighted to see all the creative ideas, solutions, and applications developed by our students. These students are our future leaders,” said Amy Henry.

“The HCC Foundation is pleased to support the IDEAS@HCC Pitch competition and foster excellence and creative thinking, while also encouraging an entrepreneurial spirit in our students,” says David Regenbaum.

IDEAS@HCC Pitch is one of five entrepreneurial initiatives offered at HCC's Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program that assists students with resources, knowledge, and skills necessary to test and launch their ideas. The Center leverages college and community resources to help students explore and share ideas, develop networks and community, build an entrepreneurial mindset, and learn digital and making[l3]  skills. For more information about the IDEAS@HCC Pitch Competition, visit www.hccs.edu/pitch or contact Ravi Brahmbhatt at ravi.brahmbhatt@hccs.edu or 713.718.5269.

Houston Community College (HCC) is composed of 14 Centers of Excellence and numerous satellite centers that serve the diverse communities in the Greater Houston area by preparing individuals to live and work in increasingly international and technological society. HCC is one of the country’s largest singly accredited, open-admission community colleges offering associate degrees, certificates, workforce training, and lifelong learning opportunities. To learn more, visit hccs.edu.

About HCC Foundation

The HCC Foundation is a philanthropic force supporting high-quality educational experiences for HCC students of all backgrounds to help them improve the trajectory of their lives. The HCC Foundation empowers HCC student success through philanthropic support, aligned with key HCC institutional initiatives. Established in 1976, the HCC Foundation is exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The Internal Revenue Service has classified the Foundation as a Section 509(a)(1) and 170(b)(1)(A)(vi) publicly supported charity. To learn more, visit www.hccsfoundation.org.



The IDEAS@HCC Pitch competition (Virtual Competition) is designed for students to share their creative ideas and social innovations. Individuals or teams can compete in the competition by delivering a pitch to a team of judges. Students should pitch a product or service that explores innovative approaches to answering pressing sustainability and societal needs.

The competition is open to all Houston Community College students. 

All IDEAS welcome!

The IDEAS@HCC Competition for Spring 2021 is a platform for any current HCC student to share their creative ideas and social innovations.

  • First Prize: $1500.00
  • Second Prize: $750.00 x2 (Track A & B)
  • Third Prize: $250.00 x2 (Track A & B)

Equaling up to $3,500 for cash prizes sponsored by the Office of Entrepreneurial Initiatives

Social Innovation Track:

The competition is designed to explore innovative approaches to answering pressing societal needs and to 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:


  1. Education & Skills
  2. Alleviating Poverty
  3. Economic Advancement
  4. Community Wellbeing
  5. Technology

IDEAS@HCC Pitch Competition is accepting student ideas from February 8th to April 30th!

Competition Finalist Presentation and Awards Ceremony will be held at VIRTUALLY on May 20th, 2021

The goal of the IDEAS@HCC Pitch Competition is to provide financial and institutional support for students who want to make an impact on the world. HCC is eager to harness the creativity and passion of Houston's student body to catalyze social change.

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More about the competition

General information

The IDEAS@HCC Pitch competition is designed for students to share their creative ideas and social innovations. Individuals or teams can compete in the competition by delivering a pitch to a team 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

Spring 2021 Live Training Sessions:

1) Pitch Presentation Training by HCC Speech and Communications Department - April 23rd, 9 am to 10:30 am

Watch on Youtube: https://youtu.be/d920SQ288VQ 


2) Appathon@HCC - April 24th, 9 am to 5 pm

Hackathon - Stream Recording:


 IDEAS@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 every day to identify their challenges, provide industry thought leadership, and visualize how cutting-edge technology is being 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
  • Example 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 which he sold in 2014, and prior to that practiced as an attorney in South Africa until his immigration to the USA in 1979.

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


  • What is 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.

SOFT SKILLS Training by University St. Thomas's McNair Center Presenter, Ashley Martin!

Learn about :

  • Personal areas of Improvement
  • People, Productivity, and Programming
  • Productive Leadership in Action

About Speaker: Ashley M. Martin is the principal consultant of Leadership Lady, a training and development company focused on helping people & organizations close their leadership and soft skills gaps to improve operational efficiency. Focusing on 3 areas for improvement - people, productivity, and programming, Leadership Lady works collaboratively with individuals and teams to save money, reduce turnover, and reach goals.

Prior to training and consulting, Ashley served as an educational leader in public education as a teacher and later an administrator. She has a Master’s in Educational Leadership and authored Focus: Productive Leadership in Action and other books. She has a heart for leaders and the next generation and believes you learn something new every day.



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?

(Please note, during COVID-19 campus shutdown, this service from Libraries will not be available)

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


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 at 713.718.5269 or email: ravi.brahmbhatt@hccs.edu

HCC IDEAS Competition events schedule, rules, awards, and this page was updated on 11/18/2020.

Check out the Past competitions and winners:

Check out the videos/pictures from Inventathon@HCC: