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A Night to Remember: The Nisbet Venture Fund Pitch Competition

by | Apr 24, 2023


The Nisbet Venture Fund finalists and judges Mybe Mjie ’04, Ashley Gautreaux , Jay Hurt, and cohort instructor, Rebecca Weeks Watson. (photo by D’Mycal Foreman ’25)

The ninth annual Nisbet Venture Fund Pitch Competition did not disappoint! Read our overview of the night, learn about some amazing ventures Davidson students have created, and help us congratulate our winners and all competitors.


By: Emily Schmidt ’23

On Wednesday, April 19th at 6:00 pm, eleven teams of young entrepreneurs gathered in the C. Shaw Smith 900 Room for The Hurt Hub@Davidson’s ninth annual Nisbet Venture Fund Pitch Competition. A few things to know:

  • Six of the teams competed in the Incubation Track, each presenting two-minute pitches to advocate for their ventures. These ventures are earlier in the process of development, and many teams have received the Try-It Fund to get their ventures off the ground. The Incubation Track winner receives $2,500.
  • The other five teams competed on the Acceleration Track, presenting five-minute pitches with three minutes of Q&A from our esteemed panel of judges, Mbye Njie ’04, Ashley Gautreaux, and Jay Hurt ’88. These ventures are further along in their development and many have already become financially viable. The Acceleration Track winner receives $25,000 and pro-bono legal services from The McIntosh Law Firm.
  • The third award of the night was our Audience Choice Award. The week leading up to the competition, an open-voting forum allowed anyone to vote up to once a day for their favorite venture. The Audience Choice award winner receives $5,000.

This night was filled with the true spirit of entrepreneurship. From our W. Spencer Mitchem Director of the Hurt Hub, Liz Brigham ‘04, opening up the night, to the wonderful emcee and Innovator in Residence, Donna Peters ‘89, the genuine interest and investment in young entrepreneurs was especially evident at the Nisbet Venture Fund Pitch Competition.

The range of ventures might be one of the most impressive aspects of this competition. Here are a few quotes from the night to give you a sense of just the kind of range we’re talking about:

  • “I know my chickens!”
  • “Rotate People’s Lives with Motate.”
  • “You won’t be able to die of boredom, but you’ll be able to use it to your advantage .”
  • “That beard comes with a lot of wisdom.”

From ventures looking to expand creativity and inspiration in children, to helping college and high school students in their career searches, to fully downloadable and original party planning material – creativity and innovative spirit are not lacking at Davidson.

The three big winners of the evening. (photo by D’Mycal Foreman ’25)

The Hurt Hub@Davidson College is proud of all the competing teams and sends a special thanks to everyone who made this night possible, from our sponsors, mentors, to the Hurt Hub staff, to Rebecca Weeks Watson, our judges, participants and RYGID AV.

Be sure to keep an eye on all these ventures, we know they’re headed to big things!

Watch the live event recording here.

The entire event and night would not be possible without our 2023 sponsors Marian Nisbet and Chip Nisbet ’86, and The McIntosh Law Firm. Chip Nisbet spoke to the crowd before announcing the winners and emphasized the love his family holds for Davidson College and how this competition has flourished in its nine years. We are so grateful for your support!

And now for our winners:

The Farm won the Audience Choice award, receiving the most votes over the week leading up to the competition. Founder Odyseeas Koufos ‘25 received $5,000 to go towards his venture of renting chicken coups to families to incentivize reconnecting with our roots and view farming as an easy and domestic activity.

Lily Korir, Class of 2023, the Nisbet Venture Fund $25,000 Acceleration track winner. (photo by D’Mycal Foreman ’25)

Modern Myths won for the Incubation Track, receiving $2,500 to encourage and inspire creativity and imagination in children. Founder Chloe Boissy Stauffer ‘24 will use her winnings to design unique and whimsical children’s books, toys, and accessories to reinvigorate childhood imagination.

And our biggest prize of the night, KK Dairy Solutions won the Accelerator Track receiving $25,000 and pro-bono legal advice from The McIntosh Law Firm. Founder, Lily Korir ‘23, is revolutionizing small-scale dairy farming in Kenya. Korir has received both the Try-It Fund and the Avinger Impact Fund for KK Dairy Solutions. With family in Kenya who are small-scale dairy farmers, Korir’s personal connection to the issues her venture is working to solve made her pitch succinct, impassioned, and clear, earning her the night’s top prize.


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