Student teams from 15 different universities entered this year’s SC Innovates 2021 – a statewide pitch competition that tasks students across the Palmetto State with developing solutions to some of society’s most challenging problems. Five teams representing the College of Charleston made it to the semi-final round, and three of those made it into the winners’ circle.
According to entrepreneurship professor David Wyman, who directs the College’s Center for Entrepreneurship, “This is a big deal. Having five teams place in the top 15 with 14 other universities competing is a tribute to the exceptional entrepreneurial zeal of our students.”
An independent panel of judges heard the finalists’ pitches, before deliberating and announcing the awards. Students from the Medical University of South Carolina won the top two awards, but CofC students took the No. 3 and No. 5 spots as well as the People’s Choice award. Guestaurant – an app developed by a team from the College led by junior Emma Musto-Boscoe, won third place ($1,000). DrinkSafe, another CofC team, led by freshman Maya Pai, won fifth ($750). And the People’s Choice Award ($500) went to FloodWatch, a CofC team led by freshman Evan Williams.
The CofC entries in this competition represent a wide breadth of solutions. Guestaurant is an app designed to connect diners with home cooks in the same way that Airbnb connects vacationers and property owners. Drinksafe is a device that will help keep wearers safe because it enables them to easily and quickly test the contents of a beverage to determine if it contains drugs. And FloodWatch is an app designed to alert users in real time to flood conditions in a given area.
“All of the teams that entered from the College are made up of amazing students,” Wyman said. “It’s no surprise that the judges were impressed with the concepts they developed and the polished pitches they presented.”
Each year, SC Innovates takes place during Global Entrepreneurship Week, which runs November 8-14.