SCRA participates at 1st annual Furman University Paladin Pitch

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South Carolina Research Authority’s SC Launch (SCL) recently participated in Furman University’s first annual Paladin Pitch competition. Steve Johnson, SCL Investment Manager and Furman alum, served as a judge for the event.


From the event organizers:

An intense process that started in November with 80 students vying for a chance to take part in Furman University’s first annual Paladin Pitch competition culminated Saturday, Feb. 22, with a first-place win by Sam Ybarra ’22 at one of the largest-attended pitch competitions in South Carolina history.

More than 500 people were gathered in McAlister Auditorium when the judges announced Ybarra would receive $10,000 for “Spectrum Tiny Homes,” a company that would build and sell tiny houses designed for young adults living with autism.

Furman Innovation and Entrepreneurship organized the competition. Judges were Brandy Amidon, mayor of Travelers Rest and co-president of Brains on Fire; Jeannette Brewster, owner of Jean B. & Co. and Community Manager for Village Launch; Laura Corder, managing director of the South Carolina Department of Commerce’s Office of Innovation; Mark Metz ’85, serial entrepreneur and founder of ReluTech; Steve Johnson, investment manager at SC Launch; and Jorge Palacio, innovation and marketing designer at Professional Tool Products.

“This is The Furman Advantage through the lens of innovation and entrepreneurship,” Furman Innovation and Entrepreneurship Executive Director Anthony Herrera said. “Entrepreneurship is not a job or a title or a major – it’s a mindset. We haven’t even scratched the surface … This is going to be a year-round process of working with students to launch ventures that will impact our community.”

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