Tech Launch Arizona is hosting a student-focused First Friday Pitch Day for the first time on campus tomorrow in the Student Union Memorial Center.
The outreach event is open to any UA student who has a business idea they wish to pitch, whether it be a new innovation or a small business idea, said Dominique Villela, director of the Tech Launch Arizona Ambassadors program and CEO of Injected Media.
“It could be anything from an idea for a coffee shop, new technology material, anything as complicated as expensive optics and aerospace to software to a small business idea,” Villela said.
Villela said students are able to pitch their ideas in front of a panel of highly active community leaders who work in commercialization, entrepreneurship and ideas that have application specific to the Tucson community.
This is the first time the event is being held on campus; previously, the pitch day would be held at Tech Launch Arizona. The change in location coincides with a change in focus from faculty to students.
First Friday Pitch Day happens multiples times a semester and was started two years ago, said Zachary Brooks, Tech Launch Arizona ambassador and president of the Graduate and Professional Student Council.
Tech Launch Arizona is an office of integrated teams creating an ecosystem of invention and commercialization and partners with the Associated Students of the University of Arizona, as well as GPSC.
“They have now opened their doors to student innovation,” Villela said.
The panel that students will be pitching to is made up of professionals from nonprofit and for-profit technology companies, UA faculty members and researchers.
The confirmed panel includes John Zipp, Manny Teran, Sherry Hoskinson and Justin Williams.
So far, five students have signed up to pitch their ideas at the event, but Villela said he expects a much higher volume of attendance than previous years. The event is designed to be casual and approachable for students to come and share their ideas.
“The economy in Tucson is driven by students,” Villela said. “We want students to stay in Tucson and build companies.”
Villela said First Friday Pitch Day will give students the resources they need to further expand their ideas, offering business advice, technical advice, legal advice and other resources to give students mentorship, guidance and networking opportunities.
“First Friday Pitch Day is important for the 41,000 UA students because it is a place and event where people can launch themselves and their ideas to making those ideas real and making those ideas have impact,” Brooks said.
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