CEBI Pitch competition announces finalists

Mikala Lugen

The Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation announced six finalists for the first annual pitch competition, CEBIpitch.

Colton Jones, a senior entrepreneurship major, received a spot as a finalist with his Bean Bike. He is currently partnering with Tree City Coffee to establish a mobile coffee cart.

Ariella Yager, a senior entrepreneurship major, is the chief operating officer and co-founder of Case.MD. This product is a phone case that allows users to take vital medications on-the-go, such as allergy medications and birth control pills.

“It is great to meet other student entrepreneurs who relate to the struggle of running a business while being a full-time student,” Yager said. “My team and I have worked so hard. We’re very excited to showcase our hard work in Kent. We’re so thankful for this opportunity to make our dreams a reality.”

John Hilbert, a junior entrepreneurship major, is the founder of Diversity Needs Healing. Hilbert created bandages to match various skin tones to better help heal people around the world.

“I have put in countless hours of research to get to the point where I am,” Hilbert said. “To have the opportunity to continue the project that I have dreamed of becoming a reality is now one step closer.”

Emily Yoder, a senior integrative studies major, is the owner and founder of Earth Energy. She produced convenient grab-and-go “power snacks” that are 100 percent all-natural, vegan and gluten-free and are packaged with eco-friendly materials.

“I’m very excited to be a finalist,” Yoder said. “My business is my baby, I’ve been working on it for over a year now, and I’m so ready to grow it.”

Zac Melchiorre, a junior entrepreneurship major, established Drive Points: a smartphone application that rewards drivers for not using their phones while driving, and drivers receive points that can be exchanged for food and store coupons.

“Being chosen as a finalist for the first CEBI Pitch Competition is amazing,” Melchioree said. “Being able to pitch my startup to a room full of people with fellow entrepreneur classmates is certainly a time I won’t forget. All of the finalists are great entrepreneurs and have great ideas and business models. I can’t wait to see their pitches.”

Jono Kontur, a senior entrepreneurship major, established his business called Fresh Priority Foods. The business is designed to sell imported gluten-free pizza mix from Italy to United States grocery stores.

The finalists will receive mentoring from business experts, as well as Kent State College of Business Administration entrepreneurship faculty. They will be competing for cash prizes totaling $5,000 at the Final Live Pitch Competition and Awards Ceremony on April 13 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center.

“I am quite excited for the CEBI to be hosting its own pitch competition for College of Business Administration students once again,” said Shawn Rohlin, director of the center for entrepreneurship and business innovation. “This will provide the finalists and student attendees with a great experience being in front of renown business leaders who will judge and provide feedback on their business ideas.”

Students or members of the Kent community can register to attend the event by April 6 at

Mikala Lugen is the student finance reporter, contact her at [email protected].