Pivot Fellows’ Entrepreneurship Skills Shine at Pitch Competition

Maya Moore, Amber Crowder, and Muhammad Al-Mahdi holding giant checks.

Posted in News

Pivot Fellows presented their unique business venture ideas and took home $15,000 in startup funding at this year’s Pivot Pitch Competition – the culmination of the program’s entrepreneurship curriculum. 

Eight Pivot Fellows competed at the virtual event on June 9, walking a panel of distinguished judges through their ideas, plans, and budgets for a wide array of startups. 

“Entrepreneurship has always been a core component of the Pivot curriculum,” Pivot Academic Director Alyssa Lovegrove said. “And that’s because it allows the Fellows to learn the fundamentals of business but also because it inspires them and enables them to become opportunity spotters and to see how they can create a pathway for themselves and for others.”

While not all Pivot Fellows intend to focus on entrepreneurship full-time after the program’s end, the practice of thinking like an entrepreneur and going through the steps of creating a startup pitch develops key skills that will serve the graduates wherever their careers take them. 

Two Pivot alumni, Izuo-ere “Mimi” Digifa and Marcus Butler, returned to the virtual stage to showcase their own successful startup businesses. Digifa is a graduate of the program’s second cohort and the founder of Flolango Cosmetics, a makeup line aimed at empowering people through positive messages and poetry. Butler graduated with the first class of Pivot Fellows and founded RomeDigital, a web development and digital marketing company.

At the competition, the Pivot Program team also announced the 2022 Partner of the Year award, which went to downtown event space Penn Social and its owner, Geoff Dawson. Dawson has worked closely with the Pivot Fellows over the course of the program and allowed them to use Penn Social as the basis for their design thinking projects in the fall. Penn Social also hosted Fellow Deron Webb as an intern this spring.

Dawson described returning citizens as the “single greatest opportunity for businesses in this country.”

“It has been an incredible honor to work with the Pivot Program,” Dawson said. “I am working with such joyful, interesting, wonderful people. I hope that I can then return that joy to the participants in the program, and I look forward to doing that for many years.”

Watch the Pitch Competition

Meet the Winners:

  • Winner: Amber Crowder for B.a.R. (The Bloom) – $4,500
  • First Runner-Up: Muhammad Al-Mahdi for Already in Motion Towing Co. – $3,750
  • Second Runner-Up: Maya Moore for WildChild Records – $3,000
  • Honorable Mentions: Anthony Dickey, Joe Houston, Mustafah Muhammad, Sa’id Abdul Wahid, and Deron Webb – $750 apiece 

Amber Crowder, B.a.R. (The Bloom)

Crowder pitched her idea for B.A.R., an inclusive bar and gathering space for queer people of color. Crowder formerly operated a successful bar in the NoMa area of Northeast D.C. for five years. 

Muhammad Al-Mahdi, Already in Motion Towing

Al-Mahdi shared his startup venture idea for Already in Motion Towing Co., offering towing services and parking lot management to residential and commercial property owners.

Maya Moore, WildChild Records

A lifelong musician herself, Moore introduced her startup idea for WildChild Records, a record label and community for independent musicians.

Anthony Dickey, 1140 Music Alliance

With his startup idea 1140 Music Alliance, Dickey aims to provide a springboard for aspiring musicians and create a supportive community of artists.

Joe Houston, We Fit Ninja

Houston presented his idea for We Fit Ninja, a ninja warrior gym in DC. Houston is a former contestant on American Ninja Warrior and the founder of WeFitDC, which provides health and wellness classes to underserved neighborhoods in the District. 

Mustafah Muhammad, Hybrid Elevation Reentry House (HERH)

Muhammad pitched his idea for Hybrid Elevation Reentry House, a halfway house and individualized transitional living model for returning citizens.

Sa’id Abdul Wahid, A Warrior’s Way

Building on his experience as a personal trainer, Wahid pitched his startup concept for A Warrior’s Way, LLC, a training program incorporating both exercise planning and nutrition advice.

Deron Webb, Pattie Mae’s Omelette Bar

Noting the lack of healthy and affordable grab-and-go breakfast options, Webb pitched his idea for Pattie Mae’s Omelette Bar, a breakfast food truck serving up his grandmother’s recipes.

Special Thanks to Our Judges:

  • Dr. Mohammed Dewji (B’98, P’25), President of MeTL Group and Georgetown McDonough School of Business (MSB) Board Member
  • Dr. Karim El Solh (MBA’91), Co-founder and CEO of Gulf Capital and MSB Board Member
  • Greg Frazier, Director of Planning and Budget at MSB
  • Dr. Patricia Grant, Senior Associate Dean of the Undergraduate Program, MSB
  • Aliyah Graves-Brown (C’17), Past Georgetown Prisons and Justice Initiative and Pivot Program Manager
  • Charles Jones, Deputy Director, Division of State Initiatives Programs, Department of Employment Services
  • Guillermo Pla (P’20, P’21, P’24), PAC Vice-Chair and Managing Partner, Pla & Roig Aran and MSB Board Member
  • Jeff Reid, Founding Director, Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative 
  • Jason White (B’99), Chief Marketing Officer, MTV Entertainment