University of Houston-Victoria student Vishal Bachani didn’t think he would receive an opportunity to pitch a business idea to a group of entrepreneurs before he earned his graduate degree. But thanks to an Oct. 12 UHV Bridge to Brilliance event, Bachani will be able to practice his business pitch and receive feedback from business professionals.

“It is a wonderful opportunity to interact with business and technology professionals and hear their expertise,” Bachani said. “I’m excited to share my idea and have hopes that this opportunity will validate the idea I have and move forward with this idea.”

Selected UHV students, alumni and community members will have a chance to pitch their information technology business ideas and possibly gain up to $25,000 in venture capital during the Bridge to Brilliance – Building Resiliency to Inspire, Develop and Grow Entrepreneurship series event, said Rosie McCusker, manager of student recruitment and community outreach for the UHV School of Business Administration. The event will be similar to the TV show “Shark Tank,” with each participant allowed up to seven minutes to pitch to a panel of entrepreneurs.

The event will be from 4 to 5 p.m. Oct. 12 in person and virtually. Students and community members in Victoria can attend in Room 111 of UHV University North, 3007 N. Ben Wilson St. Students and community members in the Katy area can attend on the same date and time in Room 215 of UHV Katy, 22400 Grand Circle Blvd. Attendees also can watch through Microsoft Teams.

The entrepreneurs pitching their ideas will receive feedback from experts in starting their business and have an opportunity for startup funding. Attendees will learn what it takes to develop a business idea into a profitable product or service.

“This is an exciting and different approach to the Bridge to Brilliance series,” McCusker said. “Participants will have the opportunity not only to pitch their ideas to a panel but also to receive valuable feedback about their ideas and how they could be successful.”

Selected participants will present their ideas to a panel that will include Ken Colwell, dean of the UHV School of Business Administration; UHV faculty members; Katy area business professionals; and financiers from EDGE196, a venture capital investment company with an office in Sugar Land. Featured speakers will include EDGE196 CEO Jay Patel and head of research Andy Chopra.

In addition to partnering with the UHV School of Business Administration for this event, EDGE196 also is interested in recruiting students for internships and mentorships, McCusker said.

“This new approach to the series brings not only an experiential lesson for students but also an alignment with the mission of Bridge to Brilliance, which is to bridge community entrepreneurs with UHV students and alumni,” McCusker said.

Students, alumni and community members must apply for a spot to pitch their ideas during the event. Bachani is one of the participants selected to present. He is a UHV international student living in Katy, where he is a part of the Master of Science in computer information systems graduate program.

As someone who always has had an interest in technology and its future, Bachani was excited to learn about the opportunity to bring a business idea to life. Bachani will be doing a presentation for a business that would help people understand blockchains, invest in cryptocurrency and decentralized finances, and understand more about nonfungible tokens, or NFTs. Bachani is a blockchain enthusiast, and his main goal is to help people understand blockchains and how they could be helpful in their lives.

“A business like this is important because global blockchain has had an exponential growth in the past few years, and there are different areas where people can learn about how to invest and create services,” he said. “There is potential there. The technology is not as complicated to understand as it sounds, and I want to make it easier for people to learn about and explore the opportunities in technology.”

UHV students, alumni and community members interested in participating in the Bridge to Brilliance event can reach out to McCusker at mccuskerr@uhv.edu for more information. Team submissions are welcomed. To register for the event, go to uhv.edu/bridge-brilliance.

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