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Chris Curran and his students with their large checks at the Mcferrin Center for Entrepreneurship Aggie PITCH contest.
Associate professor of the practice and director of Engineering Inc., Chris Curran (far left), mentored nine students in the Aggie PITCH competition, resulting in four wins. | Image: Texas A&M Engineering

The McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship hosted its fifth annual Aggie PITCH competition on April 5, 2023. During this competition, students pitch their business ideas for cash prizes. There are three different competition areas including current student full pitch, former student full pitch and elevator pitch.

Twelve students who participated in the competition worked in the Texas A&M University College of Engineering’s student incubator, Engineering Inc. Of these, six won top awards, including the first-place current student pitch. These students won a total of $26,000.

Blake Petty and Katie Calderon hold an oversized check for $7,500 for the first-place current student pitch.
Katie Calderon won first place for her business, Club Girl Golf, where she designs golf clubs for women. | Image: Texas A&M Engineering

“My idea is Club Girl Golf, a golf company that makes golf clubs specifically for women because they swing differently than men and need different equipment,“ said Katie Calderon, a student in the Department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution and first-place current student pitch winner. “Right now, the women’s equipment is just a cut-down version of the men's. Our idea is to take a putter, specialize it for women and allow them to customize it to their unique swing.“

Calderon has used social media to help her business idea grow with over 300,000 followers on her personal TikTok account and has a total of 19.4 million likes. Her passion for golf and engineering is what brought her where she is today in her entrepreneurial journey with the help of Engineering Inc.

“I love Engineering Inc. It has helped me to be able to take my idea and turn it into a full-fledged business so it has been the biggest helper for me," said Calderon. “I would not be where I am today without Engineering Inc. and I am so grateful to Chris Curran, Jim Donnell and everyone else involved.”

Department of Biomedical Engineering student Diana Salah placed second in the current student pitch for her business, Cosnetix, a company that helps consumers find hygiene products based on the user’s DNA to prevent adverse ingredient reactions.

Anish Easwaran, sophomore student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, and Kaushik Avadhanula, a student from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, pitched a novel snake bite protection device that is meant to be low-cost and designed for laborers across the globe.

“Most existing snake bite devices are designed for specialists that work directly with snakes,” said Easwaran. “Ours is designed for the everyday farmers, ranchers and construction workers who need something that isn’t going to get in the way of their work and isn’t expensive.”

Easwaran is also a member of Engineering Inc. and highlights the program as a valuable asset to students across all departments and disciplines.

“Engineering Inc. has been an amazing experience and being in an environment where there are so many like-minded individuals where everyone has a shared goal is inspiring,” said Easwaran. “Professor Curran has been a great resource and has been helping us throughout the process for Aggie PITCH.”

David Greek presenting his business idea, Redeemr.
David Greek won third place in current student pitches for his business idea, Redeemr, an environmentally focused organization that offers carbon credit services to individuals and businesses, with a client-centric approach. | Image: Texas A&M Engineering

For the first time in Aggie PITCH history, two teams tied for third place. Engineering Inc. member Kirthivel Ramesh from Department of Computer Science and Engineering, and Engineering Inc. member David Greek from Department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution received $3,500 each for their business pitches.

Ramesh’s business pitch was AggieBus, an app that already has more than 6,000 downloads. In the app, students can access timetables that tell them when campus buses will arrive and one day will have accurate predictions based on traffic and weather conditions.

Greek’s business plan was Redeemr, an environmental organization that is client-focused to provide carbon-credit services to individuals and businesses through carbon-credit development and carbon-credit products.

Department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution student, Chase Lano, won first-place for his elevator pitch for Surgeon Support, a device that supports surgeons during their long hours of surgery.

Former student and Engineering Inc. member Jaylen James ‘22 from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering won second place in the former student pitch area for his business, Xplosion Technology. He developed an artificial intelligence algorithm that enables and informs children with diabetes and their parents how to manage their glucose levels while still enjoying their favorite foods. The algorithm calculates insulin dosage based on carbohydrate intake and integrates with glucose monitors, reducing the risk of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia caused by miscalculated meals.

Visit the Engineering Inc. page or the Engineering Entrepreneurship Program website to learn more about this entrepreneurial opportunity.

College of Engineering Winners:

2023 Current Student Full Pitch:
First Place ($7,500) | Club Girl | Katie Calderon
Second Place ($5,000) | Cosnetix | Diana Salha
Third Place Tie ($3,500) | AggieBus | Kirthivel Ramesh
Third Place Tie ($3,500) | Redeemr | David Greek

2023 Former Student Full Pitch:
Second Place ($5,000) | Xplosion Technology Corporation | Jaylen James '22

2023 Elevator Pitch:
First Place ($1,500) | Surgeon Support | Chase Lano