Cross-disciplinary Student Ventures Compete at Inaugural Seawolf Pitch Competition

April 25, 2019
students talking to a judge at the Seawolf Pitch Competition

Rohnert Park, CA – The School of Business and Economics (SBE) at Sonoma State University today announced the winners of the inaugural Seawolf Pitch Competition that took place on Thursday, April 25, at Sonoma State University. A panel of entrepreneurs and business leaders from Make Media, Business Design Corporation, Wildbrine, Global Packaging, Sonoma County Economic Development Board, Traditional Medicinals, North Coast SCORE, Burr Pilger Mayer, Umpqua Bank, Rodney Strong Vineyards, and Sonoma State University were invited to judge the competition, which included 1-minute pitch presentations followed by a venture expo. Student venture teams from various disciplines at Sonoma State University competed in one of four tracks: entrepreneurship, engineering, prototype, and social entrepreneurship. A total of $5,000 in cash prizes were awarded to winning teams. Student ventures that placed first were Line Mogul for entrepreneurship, PLAD for engineering, Pocketsight for prototype, and EMOTE for social entrepreneurship. For a complete list of winners and participants, please visit

The vibrancy of our economy requires investing in the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders by providing the space and training to help them contribute to the economic vitality of the San Francisco North Bay area. The Seawolf Pitch Competition is meant to inspire an entrepreneurial spirit and instill resiliency in our students, as well as launch businesses out of Sonoma State University,” said Dr. Karen Thompson, interim dean of the School of Business and Economics at Sonoma State University.

Prior to pitch day, teams received pitch preparation support, inclusive of business strategy coaching and mock pitches, from Chris Stewart, SBE entrepreneur in residence and president/COO of Pocket Radar Inc.

From preparation to pitch day, the entire experience forces students to think critically about every aspect of their company, the value of their idea, target market, competitors, strengths, and financial projections. This experience helps students develop a valuable new thought process,” said Chris Stewart.

"Preparation with Chris Stewart was invaluable in that I learned how to think through the process of identifying a market gap and meeting that need with a viable product,” said Anthony Rosa of Hemp Construction Materials and Services and B.S. in Business Administration Class of 2019. “My goal is to become an entrepreneur. Not only did I meet a potential business partner, I gained experience in writing a business plan and received feedback about my pitch, which I can apply to this product and future ventures.” 

Research in the field of entrepreneurship and innovation overwhelmingly shows individuals with prior experience are more likely to form beliefs that a new venture idea is one that they can personally pursue and turn into a successful business. That is why experiential co-curricular activities, such as the Seawolf Pitch Competition, are essential components of the entrepreneurship curriculum,” said Dr. Sergio Canavati, assistant professor of entrepreneurship and leadership.

The Seawolf Pitch Competition was conceived by Dr. Sergio Canavati, Chris Stewart, and Dr. Karen Thompson as part of the SBE’s Entrepreneurship Hub which serves all Sonoma State University students.

For more information about the Seawolf Pitch Competition and entrepreneurial activities at Sonoma State University, please visit, or contact us at or (707) 664.2831. For more information about our degree and certificate programs, please visit, or connect with us at or (707) 664-2377.