Northeastern University sponsored the “Pitch in the City” event on March 26 in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood, where local entrepreneurs pitched their business ideas to a panel of experts.
“At Northeastern University we try to be very active in our community,” said Vice President of City and Community Affairs John Tobin, who moderated the event. “We know that being a good neighbor comes in many different shapes and forms, from capacity building to listening to our neighbors’ ideas.”
The event dovetailed with Northeastern’s commitment to engaging with surrounding neighborhoods and communities. It also built upon the university’s flourishing entrepreneurial ecosystem, which is supported by a range of programs and resources. These include the Center for Entrepreneurship Education, the Center for Research Innovation, and the Health Sciences Entrepreneurs Program. There are also student-led programs like the Northeastern Entrepreneurs Club and IDEA, the venture accelerator.
The panel of experts included IDEA’s CEO, Nick Naraghi, DMSB’15, who noted that his group is glad to be part of the innovation ecosystems both at Northeastern and in the Boston area. “It’s important for us to actively engage with all of the hard-working individuals in the area who are trying to accomplish the same types of goals,” he said. “It makes us all stronger together.”
Seven startups participated in the event, which was held at Hibernian Hall in Dudley Square and was hosted by the Boston-based business magazine BannerBiz. The entrepreneurs each had a few minutes to pitch their business ideas without using demonstrations, slides, or videos. The startups included a clothing line; a peer-to-peer learning market place; and a website that helps identify the latest fashion trends among professional athletes.
The winning startup was The Tech Connection, which was founded by Melissa James. Her company connects underrepresented groups in the technology industry with workforce opportunities.
In addition to receiving a $250 cash award, James also took home a prize from each of the panelists. From Northeastern, James was granted the opportunity to work with the School of Law’s Community Business Clinic. As a result, James’ startup will have access to IDEA’s resources.