|Sara Scacchi presents a
glove for artists that would prevent pencil drawings from smudging Wednesday night during "The
Hatch" at BGSU. (Photos: Shane Hughes/Sentinel-Tribune)
Business ideas with a social conscience and others that would be helpful to students caught the fancy of
investors Wednesday night at "The Hatch," Bowling Green State University’s version of
A dozen students, chosen from 76 entrants, spent 10 weeks working with mentors leading up to the chance
to pitch their ideas to a half-dozen investors, referred to as "Falcons."
A few of the students walked away with financing, others with offers of help with "due
diligence" and several with no more than words of encouragement.
The "hatchlings" pitched their ideas in front of a high-energy live audience of hundreds in the
Grand Ballroom of the Bowen-Thompson Student Union. There were 67 high school and alumni "Hatch
Watch" parties around the world. The event was streamed live over the BGSU College of Business
website. A bus-load of students from Hicksville High School was in the ballroom.
Master of ceremonies Kirk D. Kern, director of BGSU’s Dallas-Hamilton Center for Entrepreneurial
Leadership, frequently reminded everyone to keep in mind "It’s not personal, it’s business."
Although Sara Scacchi, a freshman from Parma, won the People’s Choice Award for her Artist Armor glove,
she received no financing. Three investors pledged to explore the idea further if patent and other
issues are resolved. Scacchi said the glove eliminates smudging for those sketching and also
incorporates an eraser. Voting was by text-messaging.
Jerrod Witt, a junior from Sylvania, found support for his Audible Eye, a device that tells the visually
impaired their location. He said it would also work for the tourism industry. Five of the investors
pledged $2,000 each, and another offered the services of a grant writer. Witt said BGSU is interested in
the device for the campus.
Loren Branch, a junior from Detroit, found support from five investors for his Vital Design, a pocket
T-shirt firm with specially-created art designs. A portion of the sale of each shirt would go to
programs to help youth in his hometown of Detroit. "I want to revitalize Detroit one shirt at a
time," he said. Investors proposed a $7,500 loan with conversion to equity. He was urged to find
"a leader in the city of Detroit to help get the idea off the ground."
|Brian Sokol looks at a
portrait of himself drawn by a BGSU student presenting Wednesday night during "The
Four investors found interest in Morgan Smith’s U Matt, an app that would notify students when their
laundry is done or washers or dryers are available. Smith, a freshman from Junction City, said the
device would work on any laundry machine and would also have the ability to allow a college to sell
advertising to help cover the cost. She said BGSU is "on board" and asked investors to
"turn your laundry into buckets full of cash." The investors offered $8,000 for a 10 percent
Robert Striblen found support from four investors for his quick-release belt system designed to make
carrying boxes easier, with additional uses in the tourism industry. Striblen, a senior from Manchester
who attends BGSU’s Firelands campus, said the system was inspired by a friend who lost his arm in Iraq
in 2004. "He wouldn’t accept help, so I built the device for him. He still uses it today."
Alan Eschweiler, a sophomore from Avon, ended up putting $8,000 of his own money on the table to attract
similar pledges from two investors. His TagMobile device sends messages to devices as people pass stores
in an effort to entice them inside for special sales. A video featuring mascots Freddie and Frieda
Falcon demonstrated the idea.
Angela Lucarelli’s "Dress to Impress" plan to rent clothes to students for interviews, found
interest from two investors, with additional study. No funds were pledged. She is a freshman from Avon.
Nicole Braxton, a senior from West Bloomfield, Mich., received no offers but was encouraged "to not
give up the dream" for her food idea for festivals and special events. Investors were served crepes
containing internationally-themed food, and a vocalist provided entertainment.
Caitlin Flack, a senior from New Carlisle, got no offers and was encouraged to propose her plan to
install solar-powered cell phone chargers on grocery carts to Walmart and Safeway, with an investor
offering to supply contacts.
Stefan Grdic, a senior from Belgrade, Serbia, was told his idea to attach gloves to skiwear to keep out
snow needed more work and had to be high-end to compete in the marketplace.
Sophomore Taylor Frazer from Bryan found one investor willing to take another look at his Hide Lighter.
He said highlighter marks will disappear over a short period of time, making it easier for students
using rented textbooks to avoid fines.
Freshman Grant Kirkey found no investors for his disposable plate that holds a cup. Kirkey said the
design would make it easier for people at functions from weddings to tailgates to keep a hand free to
meet people and do other things.
Participating as investors were Joseph J. Fisch, Jr., founder, president and CEO of United States
Beverage; Mirjana R. Gearhart, president, Orion Consulting Ltd.; Benjamin Goff, executive vice
president, Brown & Brown of Ohio; Earle Malm, retired president and CEO, HighMark Capital
Management; Brian Sokol, CEO, Oasis Consumer HealthCare; and Alicia Wagner, owner and founder, HEELS
Coaching & Consulting.