Four students in the St. Mary’s University Entrepreneur Scholar Program (E-Scholar) recently participated in the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization’s National Conference with one walking away with a third-place finish.

Abigail R. Hernandez, who is a Greehey Scholar and an accounting major, took third place and won $1,500 in the competition. Hernandez’s business concept involved a solar-powered phone charger that is also a fashionable carrying case. An elevator pitch is a 90-second delivery of a business concept used to attract investors. St. Mary’s E-scholars have consistently placed high in the competition with two first-place awards in 2008 and 2010, won by Shannon Lowry and Alexandra McCoy.

Students have to apply to event participate in the competition, and three St. Mary’s students captured spots that way. In addition to Hernandez, Alice Meyer, an international relations major, and Esperanza Gomez, an entrepreneurial studies major, also participated. A portion of the competition slots were reserved for schools that held an internal competition. Tanairi Ochoa, a political science major, secured one of those spots.

The Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization is the premier global entrepreneurship network, which serves over 200 universities and thousands of students. Each year, more than 1,500 students attend the national conference with hundreds competing for these awards. During the three-day conference, students also participated in workshops on topics, such as recognizing business opportunities, raising financial capital, E-commerce, branding and risk management. They also heard stories and advice from nationally renowned entrepreneurs such as Dr. Gene Landrum, founder of Chuck E. Cheese, and Michael DeLazzer, original founding member of Redbox.

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