Two University of North Georgia students placed among the top five college teams in a student startup competition.
This is the first year for the Georgia InVenture Prize competition, and senior business management majors Caleb Hearn and Samuel Herrera were one of five finalist teams to pitch a startup to judges during a live GPB broadcast. They were up against teams from Fort Valley State University, who took the gold, Southern Regional Technical College, Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia.
Hearn, from Powder Springs, and Herrera, from Cumming, showed off their app Opus Affinity during the semifinals on April 3 and 4. The app targets craft breweries and wineries across the state, helping both tell the brand's stories and building brand loyalty using software that links videos in the app and giving the options for those who gift craft brews and other specialty items using the video software.
"I can't think of a better team of student entrepreneurs than Caleb Hearn and Samuel Herrera to have represented UNG in the inaugural George InVenture Prize competition," said Dr. Mary Gowan, dean of UNG's Mike Cottrell College of Business. "Their presentation was polished and on target. They clearly demonstrated they had a viable business and plans to scale it going forward, and they answered questions from the judges with confidence."
"We're very happy with how it went," Hearn said. "We came in with the goal of reaching final five, so we're ecstatic. I think we represented UNG very well, and we're very happy with how UNG helped us out."
The pair previously advanced to the state competition by winning the $2,000 first prize in the inaugural innovateUNG Pitch Challenge in February.
The statewide event is modeled off the Emmy-winning InVenture Prize at Georgia Tech and is sponsored by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the University System of Georgia.