A third-year undergraduate business administration major won the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship’s seventh-annual Elevator Pitch Competition on Nov. 9 at the Performing Arts Center Pavilion.
Haley Pavone is the founder and CEO of Pashion Footwear that is developing a convertible high-heel shoe now undergoing research and development in the Orfalea College of Business’ Hatchery program. She was the top pick of a panel of four judges for the $1,000 prize. In addition, she received the $500 Audience Choice award.
According to Pavone, Pashion is an innovative fashion startup working to create a “practical and fashionable” approach to the classic stiletto heel — an adaptable shoe that can fully convert from pump to flat. “Combining excellent technical execution with trendy styles, Pashion Footwear is the up-and-coming solution to the pain, injury, and inconvenience associated with wearing high heels,” she wrote.
Hosted each fall, Elevator Pitch allows undergraduate and graduate students to share product ideas, innovative services or a startup plan at any stage of development. Students across all majors were encouraged to apply. Entries from 50 Cal Poly students were whittled down to the top six, who presented their ideas in a high-pressure, fast-paced, 90-second pitch to the judges, all startup founders.
New this year was the addition of Cuesta College, which submitted their top four student companies. Sarah Keas received the $1,000 top prize. Her Breathe Bans proposal offers a new take on a device that provides emergency shots for allergic reactions that is more convenient to carry and use because of its small size and versatile design. The other Cal Poly entrants were invited to join the Hatchery.
Other student participants were Brett Tyler, Brayden Podesta, Sierra Scolaro, Sarthak Khillon, Jax Gottwald, Olga Holubeck, Ross Levine and Tommy Sidebottom. Ten pitches were made over 45 minutes.
“It was a hard choice for the final judges,” said Candice Conti, CIE communications manager. “They deliberated to the very last possible minute. Overall, the pitches were really good and so were the ideas.”