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Spelpreneur Pitch Night Group

Startup Competition

Spelpreneur Empowers and Inspires Collegiate Entrepreneurs

In its continuing effort to foster entrepreneurship and innovation, the Spelpreneur initiative hosted its fifth Spelpreneur 10-Day Startup Competition on March 20-30, 2023. 

Throughout the 10 days, eleven student teams honed the skills needed to advance through the process from problem identification to minimum viable product. Teams identified a unique problem; demonstrated how their idea presented the best solution to the problem; and built a mock-up and business case. Teams were mentored by representatives from The Home Depot (Presenting Sponsor), Morgan Stanley (Gold Level Sponsor), Google, CodeHouse, and others in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. On March 30, the teams pitched their “Shark Tank” style idea to a group of judges.


Spelpreneur Pitch Night Winners 2023


The Spelpreneur pitches were made in person in the NASA Auditorium, Albro-Falconer-Manley Science Center at Spelman College.

1st place, Zeshaa

Spelpreneur 1st place winner - Zesha
Contestants : Chai Tchanque, Gianna Jones, and Sahara Trask

Prize : $2,500

Pitched :  Beauty, Skincare 

2nd Place Winner - Oshun

Spelpreneur 2nd place winner - Oshun
Contestants : Nichele Washington and Crystal Ike

Prize : $1,500 ,+ Viewers' Choice winners $500

Pitched :  Sustainability, Beauty Packaging

3rd Place Winner - Team Rooted

Spelpreneur 3rd place winner - Team Rooted
Contestants : Princess Dandoo and Kelaiah Dixon

Prize : $1,000

Pitched :  Financial Education


Large Blue Quote LeftEach year, the Spelpreneur 10-Day Startup Competition gets better and better. This year’s competition exceeded my expectations. Over the 10 days of the competition, students addressed problems that are on a national scale - ones that weren't just localized to their campus experience -- and developed solutions in a very methodical and well thought out manner. Mentors spent countless hours providing invaluable advice; and students advanced their ideas to a tangible product /service — what a sense of empowerment. I look forward to seeing what’s next for the students in their entrepreneurial journey.”

-- Sonya C. Rush, Founding Director of Spelpreneur



Students Walked Away Empowered and Accomplished the Following:

  • Identified a specific, important and large problem
  • Learned how to develop a hypothesis of their target customer and quality feedback from customers and industry experts
  • Developed a mock-up and landing page
  • Created a revenue model outline with the ability to be implemented across multiple markets
  • Connected with mentors and expand networks
Large Blue Quote LeftThis edition of the Spelpreneur 10 Day Startup Challenge was, hands down, the best one yet. The students’ talent was on full display as they focused on solving a wide-ranging and mature set of problems generally only seen in seasoned entrepreneurs. Additionally, they were able to establish relationships with professionals from some of the top companies in the world. The future is bright for these students, and I can’t wait to track their growth.

-- Joey Womack, Founding SpelPreneur Pitch Competition Organizer and Founder of Goodie Nation and Amplify for Good

Next Steps: After the 10-day Competition, Then What? 

The Spelpreneur program has no requirement of the team as well as no obligation to the team after the competition.

If students want to move forward with an idea after the competition, to create an actual startup, they are advised to seek independent legal counsel to ensure the appropriate steps to move forward are fulfilled (such as the formation of a legal business entity or the structuring and execution of a partnership or operating agreement to govern matters amongst members.)

An attorney (Georgia Lawyers for the Arts) would also be a resource to provide the students with direction in protecting intellectual property created and conducting intellectual property clearance searches (trademark, patents, etc.).

Large Blue Quote LeftEntrepreneurship and tech startups are all the rage for several different reasons, and so educational institutions have to prepare their students for the future," said Joey Womack, CEO of Amplify4Good, an Atlanta-based agency that produces hackathons and innovative programs to help organizations create social impact. Womack, served as producer and coach for Spelman’s startup competition, is correct. A 2014 Bentley University survey of millennials from ages 18 to 34 found that two-thirds are interested in starting their own businesses. 

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The Home Depot logo
Spelpreneur thanks The Home Depot for being a presenting sponsor during the 2022-2023 academic year.

Spelman College Spelpreneur sponsor Morgan Stanley
A special thanks to Morgan Stanley for being a Gold Level sponsor of this year's Spelpreneur program.