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Pitch Party at the BLUE Zone, UNC, 2018

Pitch Party at the BLUE Zone, UNC, 2018

Anthony Schinelli, BioChemistry ‘21

Entering my journey at UNC as a chemistry major, the last thing I thought I would be doing within my first two months would be competing in a campus-wide entrepreneurship and innovation event against some of the top business school students in the college. Growing up I had always been interested in how things worked and how to make things better, (the main reason why I joined BLUE), but as time went on I became more focused my schoolwork, and less on my childhood interests. So when I heard about the opportunity to come up with a business idea and pitch it to various entrepreneurs and businesspeople in the Chapel Hill area, I thought that it would be a fun way to check in on my social skills and see what life is like as a business student/entrepreneur. 

In reality, the experience I gained that night far exceeded my learning how to pitch properly, and was some of the most valuable information a student of any field of study could get during their first semester in college. Talking to hundreds of some of the area’s top movers and shakers over the course of those 3 hours, I learned so much about business, risk taking, and the importance of following your passion. But most of all I really saw the impact and importance of giving back to the community. Here were some of the top business minds in the university spending 3 hours of their evening walking around a crowded auditorium talking and giving invaluable advice to a bunch of college students about small, probably infeasible business ideas they had, all with a smile on their faces. The generosity they showed to these students, and the enthusiasm we showed in return, really showed me how just a two minute conversation with someone can make such a big impact. 

Later in the semester, we had another pitch competition, this time only within our BLUE Residential Learning Program group. Teaming up with my fellow chemistry major, we designed a collapsible water bottle to preserve carbonation within liquids as well as flavor whose design actually now being used now in the company Que. Learning how to combine my academic background with a real world problem was such a unique experience that I hope to carry with me as I eventually move out of college into a corporate setting.  

So to anyone out there who’s interested in entrepreneurship but maybe doesn’t know where to start or is nervous about talking with people - just reach out! One thing I’ve learned at UNC is that people are here for you - they want you to succeed, to grow, and to expand your horizons beyond what you ever thought they could be. Just dive in - believe me, once you’ve entered the world of entrepreneurship and innovation, you’ll never look at the world the same again.