NATCHITOCHES – Matthew Gamble won first prize in the Northwestern State University School of Business Inferno Pitch, a business plan competition that offers NSU students mentoring skill-building for launching entrepreneurial ideas. Gamble is a senior business administration major from Shelbyville, Texas, and earned $3,000 for pitching a patented design and business plan for Rise and Rotate, a device he and his stepfather designed and developed to assist individuals with limited mobility.
Second place went to Bradford Morrison for History Holes, a miniature golf course in historic Natchitoches, and a $1,000 prize. Third place went to Kylie Morgan for NextGen Smart, and a $500 prize.
Also competing were Charlene French, with Cajun Kitty Café, a café featuring locally roasted coffee, baked goods and cats available for adoption, and the team of Obed Ramirez Garcia, Parker Blanchard, Alexander Brown, Dustin Chandler, Moses Gonzales and John Monlezun for Truckers Only, a social media platform for individual truckers.
All top five finishers have the option to go on to compete in the statewide business plan competition, the Entrepreneurship Pelican Cup. Winners of the Pelican cup will be awarded $25,000 for first place, $15,000 for second place and $10,000 for third place, to be split between team members.
Qualifying Inferno Pitch participants were required to submit an application and participate in workshops. Finalists made their final pitch to a panel of judges comprised of local business and education leaders.
Dr. Carmella Parker, associate professor and coordinator of outreach and special projects for the School of Business, organized and hosted the Final Pitch.
“We are so excited for, and proud of, our participants, finalists and winners,” Parker said. “This competition provided them an opportunity to apply the skills that they are learning in our AASCB accredited School of Business. These entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial skills are in high demand; thus, I am also excited for our area employers and/or our students’ future clientele.”