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Pitt Business Students Place Third at Startup Weekend Pittsburgh

A team of Pitt Business students and their professional counterparts recently placed third in Startup Weekend Pittsburgh Women’s Edition, an idea-development competition for aspiring entrepreneurs.Pitt Business Students Place Third at Startup Weekend Pittsburgh

Pitt business students Amit Shimshi (junior- finance major) and Teresa Leatherow (freshman - business information systems and supply chain management) presented their business plan for Project Impact.

“Project Impact seeks to create a culture of volunteerism by making opportunities accessible in today’s busy technology age,” Shimshi says.  “It is an app that allows ‘planners’ (nonprofit organizations) and ‘givers’ (volunteers) to come together in one platform. The app would essentially be a one-stop-shop for volunteerism, where volunteers can browse local opportunities that match their interests, sign up, and keep track of their volunteer hours.” 

In total, 12 teams presented their ideas for startups. Team members had backgrounds in everything from business and computer science to design. The wide array of ages, backgrounds, and professional experience provided a unique climate that allowed participants to apply their common passion for entrepreneurship in the hopes of developing an exciting new business. 

Each team spent the weekend at Alpha Lab and Alpha Lab Gear working on idea validation, customer acquisition, marketing research, and design for the startup’s app and product.  

The Pitt Business team was paired with professionals from Branding Brand to develop their idea. They worked with Alicia Kamath, manager of strategic client services, Anna Lawrence, director of product, Lauren Sullivan, director of marketing design, and Nikki Orsborn, vice president of client vision.

“Working with a professional community demonstrated the types of interactions necessary for a positive exchange of ideas, and therefore a positive overall experience,” Leatherow says.  “Even if our team had not placed, the weekend taught a lot about the process of creating and developing an idea, as well as more refined approaches to accomplishing the multiple tasks that stem from the formation of a new idea.”

Leatherow and Shimshi are excited to continue working on their startup company alongside the numerous professional women they met at the event.