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Thunderbird’s annual Pitch Competition fosters entrepreneurialism

16 teams compete in most recent event at Thunderbird Global Headquarters


Photo of a group of people, some of whom hold large novelty-sized checks.

This past spring, the A. Masrin Center for Global Entrepreneurship and Family Business hosted 16 teams of 30 students as they competed in the annual Pitch Competition at Thunderbird Global Headquarters on ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus. Photo courtesy Thunderbird School of Global Management

June 07, 2024

The A. Masrin Center for Global Entrepreneurship and Family Business at Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University is leading the way in preparing students for modern business challenges and opportunities.

This past spring, the center hosted 16 teams of 30 students as they competed in the annual Pitch Competition at Thunderbird Global Headquarters on ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus. This year’s event showcased the talent and ingenuity of students as they pitched their business ideas to expert alumni judges, who also provided students with constructive feedback and guidance.

This year’s first-place winners, Abbas Ahcen and Likhi Castaneda, presented their project, Trigui, a ride-sharing concept designed to improve delivery experiences in Algeria. Second place went to Juned Prajanta and Vion Dwi Sartika for USG Gendong, which aims to reduce infant mortality rates in rural Indonesia with a portable ultrasound platform. Tarun Masapeta earned third place with Project EIFL, focused on teaching personal finance and financial literacy to high school students in India.

The winners of the competition received cash prizes of $2,500, $1,500 and $1,000, respectively. 

“Through events like the annual Pitch Competition, participants have the chance to showcase their talents, connect with experienced professionals and gain hands-on knowledge and mentorship from industry experts. They also create a space for students, alumni and industry leaders to collaborate, exchange ideas and drive innovation forward,” said Charla Griffy-Brown, acting dean and director general at Thunderbird. “By fostering these connections and opportunities, we empower our students to go out and make a real impact in the world.”

After six years, the annual event has evolved as the premier entrepreneurship development platform for Thunderbird students.

“This year’s competition perfectly reflected the steady growth of our students' entrepreneurial endeavors and Thunderbird’s core values as the winners pitched business opportunities in three different countries: Algeria, Malaysia and India,” said Eva Vazquez Ortiz, director of the A. Masrin Center for Global Entrepreneurship and Family Business at Thunderbird. “These companies were not just targeting international markets, but they clearly demonstrated how innovation can enable social impact around the world.”

The event was also co-hosted by Thunderpreneurs, Thunderbird’s dedicated entrepreneurship club that aims to empower students to learn about the foundations of entrepreneurship and the skills to effectively pitch investors.

Amy Burow Walters, a 2018 alum of Thunderbird and vice president of product operations at City of Hope, served as one of the volunteer judges at the event.

“As a judge, I was very inspired by the innovative business ideas our students are cultivating and the real impact they will make on the world,” Walters said. “The Thunderbird entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well!”

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