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Three students at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette earned high marks for business ideas they presented during the recent Moody Business Pitch Competition.

The B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration hosted the event, which was designed to spur innovative business ideas and entrepreneurism.

Five finalists participated in the competition based on their performances during a speed consulting and business development workshop that was held in February on campus.

The business pitch competition was held online late last month, after an on-campus event that had been scheduled was cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

A group of UL Lafayette faculty and staff members and local business professionals judged the competition.

Paul Pryor, a junior electrical engineering major at UL Lafayette, won first place and $3,000 for “Leviathan,” an idea for a low-cost, large-format 3-D printer designed for the automotive and aerospace industries.

Garrett Hebert, an MBA candidate, placed second and earned $1,000 for “The Paw Pub,” a concept for a combined restaurant and animal adoption center.

Ambika Dahal, a mechanical engineering doctoral student, was awarded third and received $500 for “Frubotics.” The invention incorporates artificial intelligence and robotics to address labor shortages in fruit and vegetable farming.

The trio also will receive assistance with their ideas from the Opportunity Machine and the Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program.

The Opportunity Machine is a collaboration between the Lafayette Economic Development Authority, Lafayette Consolidated Government, the Louisiana Small Business Development Center at UL Lafayette, and the University’s Louisiana Immersive Technologies Center.

Its role is to grow business, entrepreneurship, jobs and economic diversity in the region.

The College of Business Administration collaborated with the Building Our Region’s Future Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program to host the competition. The program assists innovative start-up businesses and stimulates entrepreneurship opportunities.

UL Lafayette faculty and staff members and representatives of Building our Future and the Opportunity Machine judged the competition.

Learn more about the Moody Business Pitch Competition.

Photo caption: Students at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette presented business ideas during a consulting and development workshop on campus (above) and an online business pitch competition.