Prosper Coffee Co. won $15,000 and Scriberr News won $7,500 for their companies in the ZuVenturez finale
A collection of students, faculty and business moguls gathered in UTCC on Tuesday night to watch Azusa Pacific’s finest entrepreneurs compete in the final pitch of ZuVenturez season six. Former APU student Savannah Case and her cold brew coffee business, Prosper Coffee Company, won the “Traction” category and digital news publication Scriberr News won the “Ideation” category.
According to Jay Sherer, Office of Innovation director, the purpose of different categories was to make the competition as fair as possible by separating teams that were still in the idea stage from companies that have already generated revenue.
Prosper Coffee Company:
Case’s cold brew coffee company produces different flavors of cold brew that are currently sold in 20 stores in the Pacific Northwest. The Portland native credits APU Marketing and Entrepreneurship professor Thomas Buckles for inspiring her to pursue this idea.
“I sat in the APU classrooms and literally crafted my ideas with him,” Case said. “I took what he taught me and applied it to ZuVenturez.”
Case delivered a strong pitch that reflected the unique aspect of her company, CBD infused cold brew.
“We found that there is a problem in the coffee industry … people who take CBD and drink coffee, there wasn’t a beverage for them,” said Case.
Prosper Coffee only has two cold brew flavors that are CBD infused but carries other cold brews without the hemp oil.
Case invested $2,000 of her own money to start the company. She credited God for answered prayers.
“God has shown his faith in me,” Case said. “He keeps giving me what I need. It’s crazy.”
According to Case, the ZuVenturez money will help with the distribution cost and ultimately help her work towards the goal of Prosper Coffee being in stores all around the Pacific Northwest and California.
The “Ideation” category winner, Scriberr News, pitched a business model that Eugene Johnson, a panel judge and the ZYRL founder, called “much needed.” The pitch was a digital news publication that reports the news from an unbiased perspective and shows all sides of the truth.
“We have a problem today,” said senior journalism major Michael Ayetiwa. “Only 33 percent of those under the age of 30 say they trust the media.”
Scriberr News seeks to become a trusted publication through its fair and honest news coverage. When it comes to opinionated writing, their goal is to release “twin articles,” two articles released at the same time showing different points of view.
Despite being a team of students with journalism backgrounds, the crew at Sriberr News did not feel like they were at a disadvantage in the entrepreneurship competition.
“The news industry desperately needs entrepreneurs,” said APU alumna Jamie Roebuck-Joseph. “This competition helped us to work out the details, especially in our finances. I think we grew tremendously throughout this process. Zuventurez made Scriberr better.”
According to Joseph, the money won in ZuVenturez will be used to buy equipment for their team, help market the brand and build their website which will launch soon.
More from the Office of Innovation
The six finalists at ZuVenturez were not the only aspiring entrepreneurs highlighted at the event. Contestants that were eliminated from the competition had pop-up-shops before the event and gave short elevator pitches in between finalist pitches.
“We wanted to showcase the broad range of talent we have by giving them a platform,” said Program Coordinator Daniella Perez. “It all starts with ideas, and we’d like to believe that [Office of Innovation] gives them a platform to express those ideas and grow.”
The Office of Innovation has been using ZuVenturez to promote entrepreneurship at APU since 2014. According to Perez, the Office of Innovation is looking to partner with local high schools to have an incubation program over the summer.