Entrepreneurial Spirit Encouraged at Pitch Johnny Competition

December 13, 2022

Students had the opportunity to showcase their innovative business ideas at the annual Pitch Johnny Competition held on December 3. For the last six years, The Lesley H. and William L. Collins College of Professional Studies (CCPS), along with The Peter J. Tobin College of Business  have hosted the competition, where students submit their idea, in a video pitch, to a team of judges for a chance to earn seed money to jumpstart their business.

“Pitch Johnny is the first step of an exciting innovation journey that can help students advance their creative ideas and entrepreneurial projects,” said Luca Iandoli, Ph.D., Interim Dean, CCPS, and Professor, Division of Computer Science, Mathematics, and Science, who served as Master of Ceremonies and event organizer. William D. Reisel, Ph.D., Professor of Management in The Tobin College of Business also helped organize the event and served as a liaison with Mr. Steve Saliski of Tottenville High School for a special high school component of the competition that was held on December 10th.

Ten teams were admitted to the final round in two tracks: For-Profit and Not-for-Profit/Social Entrepreneurship. Each track offered prizes to the top three. A special Diversity Award was also offered to the student with the best ​entrepreneurial idea promoting equity and inclusivity.

Katherine Donohoe, a first-year student in the The Peter J. Tobin College of Business, took first place in the For-Profit track for Concert Captain, an online service that allows users to purchase concert tickets and other things possibly needed to attend the event such as a hotel room, airplane reservation, rideshare, and restaurant reservations.

Radiah Jamil, a CCPS first-year student, took first place in the Not-for-Profit/Social Entrepreneurship track with Mentalligence, a free mental health program that brings students together virtually from across New York City to learn and try a variety of therapy and self-care methods. This program has already been successful for nearly 200 students from 18 New York City high schools. Radiah has partnered with the Superintendent of Brooklyn North Schools to give workshops during mental health awareness month. In addition to winning first place, she was also the winner of the Diversity Award.

The judges for the competition included Maria Alfonso, Assistant Director, CCPS, University Career Services; Meghan Dunn, Assistant Professor, Mass Communication; Neil Feinstein, Associate Professor, Mass Communication; Carmine P. Gibaldi, Ed.D. ’77C, ’79MBA, Professor, Administration and Economics; RoHika Hardas ’00CPS; James Lally, Director of Employer Relations, CCPS, University Career Services; Elizabeth Ponce de Leon, Assistant Director of Culture and Identity-Based Services, Office of Multicultural Affairs; and John A. Swan, Jr., Associate Professor, Mass Communication.

In addition to a $1,000 first prize, the winners receive priority access to the Global Development Entrepreneurship Program, a collection of short-term and summer programs for undergraduate and graduate students. Through this program they can develop their own entrepreneurial ventures or businesses, enhance them in collaboration with international partners, and pitch them in international pitch competitions.