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UM and eMerge Pitch Night Winners

Each team receives $1,250 as an award. Teams have been contacted via email.

Undergraduate Track

EcoTarp LLC
  • Richard Parrillo 
  • Joe Bentham
  • Bennett C. Richter
  • Joshua E. Halper
  • Philip Dressler
  • Ariana Robinson

Graduate/Alumni Track

  • Mariana Munoz
  • Arturo Vidal

Miami Herbert Business School undergraduates and graduate students plus alumni (2009-19) are invited to be a part of the Miami Innovation Adventure (formerly Business Plan Competition). This startup business competition, hosted by the Miami Herbert Business School, encourages entrepreneurship and recognizes successful business ideas from a wide range of disciplines.


First place, $2,500: One Topic - Mark I. Akhimien and Kevin Gutierrez
Second place, $1,500: Study Smart Supplements - Alexander Dolan
Third place, $1,000: Mimir - Daniel A. Shorten and Alexa DeBartolo
First place, $2,500: Influur - Valeria Angelini and Alessandra Angelini
Second place, $1,500: AutoAd Advertising - Kyle D. Miner
Third place, $1,000: Clubin - Nicholas J. Rose and Ian Hartsough
Congratulations to all! All winning teams were also offered guidance/counseling by the
Miami Law Startup Practicum. 



General Information

  1. There were two tracks in the 'Canes Challenge: Undergraduate and Graduate/Alumni. 
  2. All concept papers were screened and judged.  The selected concept papers were invited to participate in the Canes Challenge - Pitch Competition as well as submit a business plan in March 2019 and to pitch in the Semifinals on April 9, 2019 (closed to the public).  Consequently, the top teams in each track (undergraduate and graduate/alumni) competed in the Finals' Live competition on April 11, 2019.  The teams who did not pass to the Canes Challenge were still able to submit a business plan in Spring 2019. 
  3. 'Canes Challenge: From all the concept papers received, the top 10 teams from each track were invited to participate in the 'Canes Challenge, where the students/teams presented a 3-minute live pitch (with a maximum of 5 Power Point slides) to an audience of judges on November 14, 2018.  
  4. Students who were selected from their concept papers to pitch in the 'Canes Challenge on Nov. 14, 2018 were eligible to win prizes up to $10,000 (divided among 1st, 2nd and 3rd places in each track) and services from the Miami Law Startup Practicum as an in-kind prize.  
  5. The Miami Law Startup Practicum at the University of Miami - School of Law connects law students with new ventures in need of legal assistance. Clients of the Startup Practicum get help with organizing, financing, talent, intellectual property, risk, regulation and other legal issues that arise for entrepreneurs as they launch their new businesses and organizations. Specific legal matters include selecting and forming a business entity, such as LLC or C-corp, evaluating, negotiating and documenting financing transactions, equity and debt, drafting independent contractor, employee, joint venture and other agreements, protecting intellectual property, including applying for patents and trademarks, and drafting Terms of Service and Privacy Policies for websites and apps. For more information, and to apply for services, visit Winners of the 'Canes Challenge were given priority status by the Startup Practicum and offered both initial legal consultation and specific legal assistance.


Each individual or team was required to submit a one to three-page initial concept paper for the first stage of the Business Plan Competition.  The concept paper is the document used to determine which applicants will be invited to submit a full, detailed business plan for the competition. Therefore, it is important that the concept synopsis contain as much helpful and relevant information as possible, within the three page limit, to allow for a thorough evaluation of the concept. 

All participants had to also create an online account, enter their personal information in order to submit the concept paper (see below).

Concept papers were evaluated based on the degree to which the following are thoroughly and clearly addressed:

Multiple concept paper submissions were NOT accepted. Each individual had to appear only on ONE submission.

If the concept paper submitted was based on a class project, either all members must have been part of the team or those not entering/participating must have approved the submission by the other team members in writing prior to the submission.

'Canes Challenge Judging Criteria

Who is Eligible?

The University of Miami Business Plan Competition and the 'Canes Challenge are open to all University of Miami students in good academic and financial standing during the current academic year. The competitions are also open to all UM Alumni who are non-UM employees, graduation date must not be older than 2009.

For enrolled students, receiving an award may have an impact on your financial aid eligibility/package. Please contact the Office of Financial Assistance Services for more detailed information.

Link to the Undergraduate Office of Financial Assistance Services:

Link to the Graduate Office of Financial Assistance Services:


Each year, as oral presentations approach, some students become concerned about potential issues of confidentiality. Remember that the judges are largely entrepreneurs, investors, and financial professionals who deal with confidential information in the normal course of their work, and as such, you can expect them to behave professionally. You should feel free to exclude any information you regard as truly proprietary, but keep in mind that this may have a negative impact on your performance in the competition. Also keep in mind that your general venture idea is NOT proprietary, and in the vast majority of cases revealing it will have no impact on your competitive position. No judge, mentor, or UM faculty/staff should ever be asked to sign any sort of nondisclosure agreement, and your presentations may be open to the public.





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