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Friday, December 15, marked the third annual pitch extravaganza of Hillman business concepts–and set the stage for the work of the Spring Semester. Each year, before an audience of their peers, mentors, and program partners and supporters, the entire Hillman class, one by one, in lightening round style presents a 2-minute pitch to win the hearts, minds, and business enthusiasm of potential future partners–both from the business development side as well as outside support in terms of investments, support, and even advice on securing intellectual property protection!
This year, ideas ranged broadly from a business consultancy specifically for dental offices to a vertical business manufacturing, marketing, and selling high-end leather goods. Other innovative concepts included several business ideas for the sale of ethnic clothing; a bankruptcy consulting and legal services businesses;  four restaurants, one featuring authentic Italian food and one offering specialty pretzels, one open 24 hours and another offering  per-hour cost structure; two fitness services utilizing social media; a TV/cable channel focused on the hip hop revolution; a revolutionary dog litter “castle;” and a “smart” smoke detector.
Here are concepts that rated most likely to succeed and most creative:

Hippyheads, a unique twist on the common headband, conceived by Michelle Salah
Hidden Cove Jewels, a larimar jewelry “destination” company launched by Branden Denchfield
Eduwer, a technology company that provides more than just language support to ESL and English-language learners, created by Aixa Hernandez
Gifted Minds, Bob Okoroajuzie’s dream of a mentoring program for high school students and student athletes
A partnership between Nazea Khan’s Rent-A-Tech, Samir Khan’s Prepair, and
Pablo Garcia Beltran’s Easy PC into a single concept incorporating technology rental, repair, and training.

The next step? In the beginning of the spring semester, the Hillman students will form business development teams and utilize disruptive strategies to transform these promising ideas into winning business plans. In January, the floodgates will open for everyone to sign up for the project they would like to join.
Thanks especially to our special guests Cheryl Hillman, Kathy Michaelian, John Kolm, Kevin Polite, Michael Razavi, and other guests who came to support the students today and throughout the semester. We honor you ALL! Others who missed the program but would like to see what the Hillman students are up to are all welcome to visit the Hillman Lounge and Gallery where all student ideas are presented in visual form for the entirety of the 2017-2018 school year.

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