Thursday, June 13, 2024

Aspiring entrepreneurs compete in NSU’s Inferno Pitch

by BIZ. Staff

NATCHITOCHES – A team of students whose idea is to develop a device that creates a way to prevent drivers from driving after they have been drinking or stop them from driving while drinking were named winners of Northwestern State University’s inaugural Inferno Pitch, an entrepreneurial and business competition intended to provide NSU students with experience in developing a commercial product from inception to pitching the product to investors.

Alba Maloff Johnson and Matthew Broekman pitched the IDP Tech concept to a panel of judges in a format similar to Shark Tank in which aspiring entrepreneurs make business presentations to a panel of investors who then choose whether to invest as business partners.

Each team of students did extensive research and presented their ideas to the panel of judges as well as a large audience.

With the first place finish, Johnson and Broekman won $3,000, a scholarship to Louisiana Startup Prize 2019, a scholarship to the Patent Academy and six months of professional services from the Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program (EAP).

Second place winners are the team of Brooke Smith, Kamamalu Nishihira-Asuncion, Kennedy Cullen and Kortney Greer for Safe Shackers, a product that can be used to detect sexually transmitted infections.

Third place winner Joshua Johnson pitched In the Field Communication, a communication device that helps officers move from the vehicle to outside the car.

“We had a wonderful turnout for our inaugural Inferno Pitch Business Plan Competition,” said Dr. Carmella Parker, an organizer of the event. “We believe that our partner, Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program, was extremely pleased with our efforts to make this a successful event.  Additionally, our faculty and our students enjoyed the Top 5 presentations and are looking forward to seeing the next year’s Final Pitch.”

The Inferno Pitch was sponsored by the Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program (EAP), Biomedical Research Foundation (BRF), The Committee of 100, ANECA Federal Credit Union, Davis & Bujold, and Business First Bank.

More information about the Inferno Pitch is available at  Information on EAP is available at

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