2024 O'Pake Institute TecBRIDGE Business Plan Competition

From left: MBA Candidate and CFO of Emivero, Jack Short, Owner of Emivero, Tobi Somori ‘24, and Executive Director of Student and Client Services, Michelle Conway, MBA. 

SPARK Business Incubator facilitates experiential learning for student entrepreneurs 

Alvernia University’s O’Pake Institute places three finalists in the 2024 TecBRIDGE Business Plan Competition including collegiate finalist and Alvernia student entrepreneur Oluwatobiloba (Tobi) Somori ‘24 with her startup technology company Emivero and two high school finalists from Governor Mifflin School District and Wilson School District. 


“Having finalists at the tecBRIDGE Business Plan Competition for the third year in a row exemplifies Alvernia & O’Pake’s mission to drive economic development while facilitating experiential learning opportunities through our unique student-powered entrepreneurial model,” said Alvernia Vice President of Research Economic Development & Innovation and Chief Operating Officer of the O’Pake Institute, Rodney S. Ridley Sr., Ph.D., RTTP. “All three students were able to strategically formulate and pitch their ideas while Alvernia students in the O’Pake Fellows Program helped them cross the finish line. I am grateful to be able to see these transformations unfold each year.” 


College student teams in the region like the Emivero team compete in the collegiate division. In addition, there are high school applicant categories. This is the first year that the O’Pake Institute has mentored high school students in the competition through its Empower Ed Program. Senior in the Governor Mifflin School District Braeden Ruth, placed third in the High School Business Plan Competition with his entrepreneurial venture BR Vending and Senior in the Wilson School District Carter Anderson was a finalist in the Big Idea Essay Competition. There is also a non-collegiate division where startups can participate, which O’Pake Institute SPARK Business Incubator client OCOA Beauty won last year.  

2024 TecBRIDGE Business Plan Competition

Braeden Ruth, high school senior Governor Mifflin School District, and Michelle Conway with the third place High School Business Plan trophy for his work with entrepreneurial venture BR Vending. 


“I learned grit, the importance of feedback, and how to pivot,” said Somori. “All the hard work paid off. To me, it was very validating to know that we are past the idea stage, and the industry experts who served as judges for the competitions agreed with us.” 


Somori worked with MBA Candidate and O’Pake Institute Graduate Assistant of Startup Ventures and Investments Jack Short throughout the process of the competition with her business, Emivero. Evimero is a startup technology company aiming to aid universities, students, and all users in retention and engagement. The time-management and student engagement app works to retain current students and recruit non-traditional students.  


Competitors are responsible for deliverables in four areas including an executive summary, competitor analysis, proforma financials and a pitch deck which they presented on April 18. Industry expert judges then evaluate the presentations ahead of the awards ceremony on May 2 at the F.M. Kirby Center for Performing Arts in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. 


“Being a finalist in the TecBRIDGE business plan competition has provided me a plethora of experiential learning,” said Short. “I had a great opportunity to develop a financial model for our start-up company, present to a great group of judges, and showcase Evimero to the world which TecBRIDGE provided to us the opportunity to do.” 


Short serves as the chief financial officer of Evimero. In his role, he creates financial projections, cash flow statements, profit and loss statements, manages budgeting and oversees many day-to-day operations alongside Somori. 


“Preparing to compete in the TecBRIDGE Business Plan Competition is a rigorous process, but Tobi and Jack embraced the challenge,” said O’Pake Institute Executive Director of Student and Client Services, Michelle Conway, MBA. “They diligently developed a comprehensive business plan, pitch deck, financial projections, and competitive analysis. They also attended help sessions with tecBRIDGE's professional service provider network and invested countless hours perfecting Evimero's wireframe—all while balancing full-time studies and part-time jobs. Tobi and Jack truly embody the entrepreneurial spirit and the commitment of having ‘skin in the game.’”  

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