Goizueta Business School hosted the 8th annual Emory Goizueta Entrepreneurship Summit this spring. The event is a signature activity of The Roberto C. Goizueta Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. Its aim is to educate and inspire students, alumni, and community partners with interactive workshops, speakers, and networking opportunities.

“The most important aspect of the summit, and the driving force behind its creation, is to nurture entrepreneurship at Goizueta and Emory,” says Andrea Hershatter, senior associate dean of undergraduate education. “I think we do that in three ways. First, we provide connections and interactions among aspiring entrepreneurs. We also run educational workshops that highlight how successful ventures have addressed universal challenges. Most importantly, we offer inspiration in the form of alumni role models to whom our current students can relate.”

Summit Keynote

This year’s summit kicked off with a fireside chat with Cyril Berdugo 11BBA, co-founder and CEO of Landis. The company helps Americans reach the goal of homeownership through tailored coaching and a unique rent-to-own model. Since its inception in 2018, Landis has raised over $220 million from investors. These include such entities as Sequoia Capital, Google Ventures, and celebrities Jay-Z and Will Smith. Berdugo is a recipient of the Forbes 30 under 30 award. He holds a bachelor of business administration from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School and an MBA from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.

“To me, bringing Cyril Berdugo back to campus for our founder’s address was particularly meaningful,” says Hershatter. “It is so gratifying that he attributes the roots of his entrepreneurial journey to his experiences in the undergraduate BBA Program. He has combined that foundation with his own brilliant intellect, purpose-driven intentionality, and values that led him to build a company based on innovation and compassion. He truly embodies everything I like to think we stand for, and I am so proud to have him represent us.”

The Emory Goizueta Entrepreneurship Summit continued with the Emory Impact Investing Group panel on Diversity in Entrepreneurship, moderated by Saanvi Sood 25BBA. The panelists included Kevin Rodgers of Swaxx, Destiny Brewton of A House Called Hue, and Waleisah Wilson of Phoneix Recruiting Employment and Services, LLC.

After the panel, Hershatter moderated the luminary spotlights and lightning rounds. The focuses of this segment were payments, go-to-market strategies, and leveraging technology. The alumni luminaries included Numan Dharani 17BBA, Dustin Finkel 00BBA, Jason Kuo 19MBA, Alex Reynolds 11BBA, Omer Sattar 00BBA, and Glen Surnamer 94C.

Pitch the Summit Competition

The summit concluded with the final rounds of the Pitch the Summit competition, open to all enrolled Emory students. “Pitch the Summit offers Emory undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to showcase their innovations and their venture development journey,” says Brian Cayce, managing director of The Roberto C. Goizueta Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. “Pitch the Summit is a unique event which unites startup founders from across the University and offers them support and resources from Goizueta Business School. This includes mentorship, training, and the opportunity to earn non-dilutive funding for their ventures.” The ventures competed for $25,000 in cash prizes in addition to alumni judges’ guidance in moving their ventures forward.

“In true Emory spirit, the final day of the pitch competition features a panel of judges of Goizueta Business School startup and venture luminaries,” Cayce says. “These alumni give generously of their time and talents to help these startups succeed and plan for the next steps in their entrepreneurial pathways. Pitch the Summit is an incredible resource for the entire University community. It is all made possible by the generous gifts of friends of Goizueta. It’s singular purpose is to help our world-class students blossom into world-class startup founders.”

Summit Winners

Along with graduate and undergraduate division finalists, an overall winner was selected. Goizueta is pleased to announce the following award winners:

Overall Grand Prize winner ($10,000)

Owanga – Benedict Owanga 24L and Chinelo Adi 24L

Undergraduate Winner ($5,000)

BidBee – Patrick Latting 25BBA

Graduate Winner ($5,000)

BrlCS – Karthik Ramesh 22G

Undergraduate Runner-Up ($2,500)

POR+ – Jonathan Zhang 25BBA and Zay Naing 25BBA

Learn how The Roberto C. Goizueta Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation is changing the way we do business and supporting the next generation of leaders.

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