Student Develops Employment App that Wins First Prize in University’s 2019 Pitch Tank Competition

From left, Sherif Gharib, Adrian Rodriguez, Moe Hamdeh,
and Kacper Boguszewski

Students and judges

Mojahed “Moe” Hamdeh of Wayne, a senior majoring in finance and professional sales, won the $3,000 first prize in William Paterson University’s eighth annual Pitch Tank Competition for “Employ Me!,” an app that connects entry-level potential employees to employers in their area.

Hamdeh says his employment platform uniquely targets students from ages 16 to 25 who are seeking employment or internships, and matches them with employers who have difficulty filling those entry-level positions.

Four students won prizes for their entrepreneurial ideas in the final round of the competition, a six-month process that included writing a detailed business plan and seeking advice from mentors and professors. Presentations were judged on innovation, need and market, revenue and sustainability, investment requirements, marketing and launch, and perseverance and competence.

“We are grateful to the faculty, staff and judges who continuously promote a spirit of entrepreneurship among our students,” says Siamack Shojai, dean of the Cotsakos College of Business. “I congratulate the William Paterson students who participated in the competition for making us proud.”

In second place, Adrian Rodriguez of Paterson, a senior majoring in financial planning and economics, won $2,000 for developing Pocket Advisor, a web platform where users aggregate their financial data to help them better manage their financial life. Pocket Advisor will help clients connect to advisors, generate leads for advisors, and share data between clients and advisors.

Kacper Boguszewski of West Milford, a sophomore majoring in sales, won the third place award of $1,000 for Wheel Hub, a web platform that will help car enthusiasts locate and purchase aftermarket wheels that will fit their car.

In fourth place, Sherif Gharib of Little Falls, a junior majoring in accounting, won $500 for Sheakon, an inflatable bed rail for toddlers. The device slips under the sheet and prevents children from falling.

Hamdeh, the top winner, will go on to compete at U-Pitch NJ (New Jersey’s Collegiate Business Model Competition), representing William Paterson, on April 26, 2019 at Seton Hall University.

The Pitch Tank Competition was open to all undergraduate students in any major at William Paterson. The event was held in the University’s Cheng Library Auditorium, where finalists presented an outline of their business plan.

Andrew B. Nyaboga, professor of accounting and law, Cotsakos College of Business, and Kate Muldoon, regional director of the William Paterson University Small Business Development Center, served as coordinators of the event.

Finalist round judges for the event included:

Christopher Petro ‘86, senior director, strategic accounts, Canon Solutions America;

Janet Indelli ’79, franchise co-owner, Amazing Lash Studio and European Wax Center franchise, and former vice president of marketing, promotion and talent for HBO Sports for more than 30 years;

Aurora Rosado Lazzaro ’07, MBA ’17, partner, Sobel & Company LLC;

Charles “Chuck” Seergy, president, CMS Technology Partners and president and founder of Confersave LLC, CMS Funding, CMS Technology Partners, and his latest endeavor CanRelieve, LLC, as well as several other entrepreneurial venture start-ups, mergers and acquisitions;

Hipatia Lopez ’99, owner/inventor, H.L. Unico LLC, inventor of the Empanada Fork as seen on HSN, NBCLatino, Telemundo47 and Chef Central.; and

Tifani K. Borel, vice president and branch manager, M&T Bank in Paterson, N.J.

William Paterson University’s 2019 Pitch Tank Competition was sponsored by the University’s Cotsakos College of Business’s MBA Program in Entrepreneurship.