UT gains recognition at global pitch conference

A University of Tampa student has come up with a novel way to combat date rape: she makes jewelry that conceals a tester that recognizes when alcoholic drinks are laced with drugs.

To use the tester, hidden inside a bracelet locket, a user places the tester inside the locket, applies a drop of the drink on it, and waits about a minute to see if it changes color. If it turns darker, it should be discarded.

Alexsandra "Allie'' Wolfe, founder and CEO of Pure-Sipity, runs the company with COO Amanda Basco and some interns. The company claimed $5,000 as second place winner at the 38th Annual Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO) Conference and $15,000 Global Pitch Competition recently.

“With there being so many strong companies competing in the pitch competition this year, my only goal was to do the best I could,” Wolfe says. “Presenting in front of hundreds of people on the national stage was nerve-racking, but I was so grateful to represent my The University of Tampa on a national level and bring recognition to our entrepreneurship program.”

The company, which already has raised $20,000 competing in pitch contests, will be putting the money toward marketing costs for their upcoming launch on Kickstarter, Wolfe says.

At the event, which drew nearly 500 student entrepreneurs and their advisors to downtown Tampa, UT secured the Best Cross Campus Innovation and Networking Award for engaging students from different disciplines. Its theme was “Entrepreneurship for Everyone.”

UT’s chapter of UT Entrepreneurs’ strategy combined free food, networking, and community in a series of events that included an ice cream social during freshman orientation, Mixer and Mocktail Night, Real Estate Night, and X Embarc Collective, where students connected with collegiate entrepreneurs from area schools at the Tampa incubator Embarc Collective, says Kennedy Ubinger, chapter president.

“We truly believe that every single person on campus has a place in our organization and can benefit from the different events and the community we have built surrounding entrepreneurship,” he says.

Ubinger believes what set the UT chapter apart was its detailed plan to continue reaching out to students under the Entrepreneurship for Everyone theme.

“We did not set out to win this award and we actually didn't even know it existed until about two weeks before the application was due,” he adds.

In another local win, Reuben Pressman, chief product officer of Modern Campus and founder of the campus engagement platform Presence, was inducted into the CEO Hall of Fame.

“We really enjoy hosting the program in Tampa and it’s a great experience to see that Tampa is truly a vibrant innovation community,” says James Zebrowski, CEO’s executive director.

The students loved the conference, many trying out the Venture Valley entrepreneurial video game that awards real world prizes to players, he says. 

The game was in beta testing at the event.

“The energy was really kind of electrifying,” he says. “Our pitch competition performance was probably the best to date.”

Based at UT’s Lowth Entrepreneurship Center, a part of Sykes College of Business, the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization is a nonprofit whose mission is informing, supporting, and inspiring college students to be entrepreneurial and to seek opportunities by creating enterprises. It represents nearly 250 college- and university-based chapters. 

The event is held in Tampa often, but not always, and is planned for Chicago next year.
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Read more articles by Cheryl Rogers.

Cheryl Rogers is a freelance writer and editor who enjoys writing about careers. An ebook author, she also writes Bible Camp Mystery series that shares her faith. She is publisher of New Christian Books Online Magazine and founder of the Mentor Me Career Network, a free online community, offering career consulting, coaching and career information. Now a wife and mother, Cheryl discovered her love of writing as a child when she became enthralled with Nancy Drew mysteries. She earned her bachelor's degree in Journalism and Sociology from Loyola University in New Orleans. While working at Loyola's Personnel Office, she discovered her passion for helping others find jobs. A Miami native, Cheryl moved to the Temple Terrace area in 1985 to work for the former Tampa Tribune