SPARTANBURG, S.C. — A team of Terriers finished second overall in SC Innovates, a state-wide venture pitch contest in its first year for student entrepreneurs.
Rivers Clarke ’21, an English and studio arts major from Columbia, South Carolina, and Drake Ives ’22, a business and economics major from Sumter, South Carolina, pitched their Big Leagues Ball Club concept during the contest. Big Leagues Ball Club provides a digital platform that allows parents to find and pay student-athletes willing to give sports lessons to children.
“We say welcome to the big leagues but having advanced so quickly is assuring for the Big Leagues Ball Club that it is in fact a big deal,” says Ives. “It’s a cool opportunity to see how our hard work is beginning to pay off and now we have the exposure and resources to expand on an even broader scale.”
Clarke and Ives won $2,625 with their second-place finish.
“We are planning on launching the website next and begin recruiting and hiring coaches,” says Clarke. “We have already had a lot of interest from parents whose kids want to get lessons and college students who want to be coaches.”
Wofford College was well represented in the final round of SC Innovates. Seventy-seven teams from 16 South Carolina colleges and universities entered the competition, which came to an end Wednesday night with three teams from Wofford reaching the final round of 15. In all, 10 Wofford teams entered the contest.
Hunter Adams ’21, a business economics and French major from Saint Simons Island, Georgia, and Grace Cromer ’22, a business economics major from Anderson, South Carolina, also reached the final round of 15. Adams’ Farm Fresh Markets app intends to help consumers better find fresh and healthy produce. Cromer’s Grace Upon Grace is an adaptive clothing line for babies diagnosed with special needs.
“We had a great showing in this competition,” says Tyler Senecal, director of the college’s Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation. “Wofford students are drawn towards innovative ideas and their ability to problem-solve across disciplines is a real advantage. Our team in OEI is incredibly proud of these students for their fantastic effort and commitment to pursuing innovative ventures, and they have all represented Wofford very well.”
A fourth Wofford team including Kenner Lycans ’21, a finance major from Hendersonville, Tennessee, and Emory McClary ’21, an environmental studies major from Georgetown, South Carolina, finished runner-up with their concept, First-Mate, an app dedicated to making recreational water-ways safer.
“At Wofford, we’re surrounded by winners,” says Ives. “It’s a humbling experience to be surrounded by such driven individuals, and I’m appreciative that the Wofford community holds such high standards which is inspiring and motivating to simply do more, do good and succeed.”
SC Innovates concluded during Global Entrepreneurship Week. Sixteen colleges and universities from across the state launched the contest while partnering with the South Carolina Department of Commerce and South Carolina Research Authority.