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Pacific’s innovators show their best ideas at PIES 2021


For those of you who aren’t familiar, when we talk about PIES at Pacific, we’re not talking about baked pies; we’re talking about the Pacific Innovation and Entrepreneurship Summit (PIES) which is the largest interdisciplinary gathering of students, alumni and community partners at the university! 

Featuring unique ideas like self-watering origami pots, wearable tech that protects children from kidnappers and a feminist psychological horror film, Pacific students have conceived creative solutions to some of life’s nagging problems. 

“I really enjoyed the presentations,” said PIES judge Kathleen Fairchild. “All the pitches hit their marketing points, who they would sell their product to and how they can expand their product and business.”  

In 2018, the first Pacific Innovation and Entrepreneurship Summit featured 24 student teams with over 200 attendees. Each year since then, the summit has grown and fostered a community of innovation and entrepreneurship. Even when the event was shifted to a virtual format in 2020, PIES continued to thrive and create a lasting impact among students and the Pacific community. Over 300 people gathered virtually for this year’s summit, and throughout the night the audience actively participated with PIES presenters and judges. 

Didn’t get a chance to attend the event? Keep scrolling! We’ve rounded up some of the winning pitches and presentations. You can find the full list of winners on the PIES website as well as more in-depth information about the annual summit.

Best Media and Art Pitch: The Monster in the Forest 

As Thana Graves searches the forest for her missing husband, she begins to believe she’s being hunted by a crazed monster… but whether women or monsters, the truth isn’t always as it seems. 

Not only was April Chai’s “The Monster in the Forest“ pitch the first-place project in the Pacific Pitch Media and Art track, but the project also won first-place overall. The win netted April $1,000 and several in-kind prizes to help fund her filmmaking.  

During the pitch, April emphasized that horror can be used as a mirror and that this project would reflect societal and feminist issues through psychological horror, mystery and a unique monster. The project would also include a female-led and driven production team and feature a diverse cast and crew.  

Want to hear more about April and her journey as a Media X student? Our People of Pacific team interviewed April after her win at PIES and asked her a series of rapid-fire questions.

Best Educational and Social Entrepreneurship Pitch: Scholarly Note 

Scholarly Note strives to provide ease and assistance to every student and individual in their education. With innovative technology and competitive pricing, Scholarly Note is the best educational resource. Our mission is to deliver an easily accessible and available note-taking app to students of all levels, majors, and subjects. 

When it comes to taking notes, every area of study does things differently and there isn’t a single note-taking service on the market that offers subject-based features. Business administration student Jennifer Sheychenko and bioeetrical engineering student Hannah Tong created Scholarly Note as a solution to this problem.  

Their pitch wowed the judges and earned them a second-place award of $600. Most notably the app’s excellent array of features like a 3D object scanner and pre-formatted templates based on subject area, set this note-taking app apart from competitors.  

Tiger Tradeshow Winner: WatchAway 

WatchAway aims to build the best product to inspire confidence and protect future generations by creating an easy-to-use child protection device and app.  

Understanding that parents are looking for ways to protect their children that are both reliable and cost-efficient, four Eberhardt School of Business students sought to create a wearable wrist device that would bring moms and dads peace of mind.  

The Tiger Tradeshow winner is decided by popular vote and WatchAway won by securing 33% of the votes. The audience was impressed by the thorough research, clear competitive advantage and innovative ways of deterring potential kidnappers. Winning first place netted the team $500.  

You can watch the team’s recorded presentation on Google Drive.

Tiger Tradeshow First-Runner Up: Hana Pot 

A sustainable pot that grows with your plant, Hana Pot is a female-owned, California-based company that sells origami pots through their e-commerce website. 

A self-watering origami pot made from sustainable materials? Say no more. Hana Pot was created by Business Administration student Randi Holguin and Engineering Management student Kyla Kariger with the core purpose of making plant ownership carefree and easy.  

“Our market strategy is exclusivity… so offering limited quantities at a low price of $25 is perfect for impulse buys,” said the Hana Pot team.

What’s next for PIES? 

With Pacific’s campus reopening this summer, the organizers of PIES are looking forward to having the event in person. Though PIES has successfully gone virtual for two years in a row, the true magic of the event is the in-person tradeshow and pitch competition.  

Learn more about PIES.

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