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Hard Work Pays Off for Young Entrepreneurs

Three women win ENTR fall 2015 student pitch competition

Posted in: Feliciano Center News

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When the three women heard their team’s name called as the winner of the fall 2015 student pitch contest, they were overwhelmed but felt gratified.

“All the hard work paid off,” said Christi Himiob, a junior Spanish Translation major, after the pitch contest on Dec. 15.

Himiob is one of three co-founders of Karuda Skincare, a company created while the students were pursuing Montclair State’s Certificate of Entrepreneurship. The certificate, which consists of three 3-credit courses, culminates with a student pitch competition each semester. Students who competed in the fall contest are eligible to pitch in the TeleBrands Inventors Day for Aspiring Entrepreneurs pitch contest on May 4, 2016, when the victorious team will win $10,000.

Himiob’s co-founders are Larissa Elvers, a senior Child Advocacy and Policy major, and Sacha Vincent, a junior Finance major. Karuda makes and sells beauty products that use coconut oil as a base, including makeup remover, lip balm, scrub, deodorant and hand cream. The three students each won a $100 Amazon gift card.

Vincent said the three entrepreneurship courses (ENTR 201, 301 and 302) helped her grow as a person, and business owner, while cementing bonds with her teammates.

“Even if we didn’t win, just our relationships worked so well. We would have won anyway,” said Vincent.

See photo album from the pitch competition, and Certificate of Entrepreneurship ceremony.

Vice Dean Kimberly Hollister, one of the judges, said the Karuda team had moved the farthest along in its entrepreneurial journey.

“They knew their market, they could articulate their position, they already had customers,” said Hollister.

Another judge, alumnus Daryl Bryant, co-founder and CEO of Hudson Horizons, said he was impressed with “how quickly they’ve gone from an idea, to where they’re hitting the streets with a product.”

“Their presentation was flawless,” said Bryant, who is also a member of the Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship’s advisory board.

The third judge, Katie Sferra, agreed that Karuda had the most well-developed idea. And then there was one other factor: “They had customers who paid them real money,” said Sferra, a 2015 alum with a degree in Anthropology and the Certificate of Entrepreneurship. Sferra was on the winning team for the fall 2014 student pitch contest.

The three founders of Karuda said they will be working hard next semester to grow their business, and prepare for the TeleBrands contest. “We won’t need the $10,000, but we want it,” said Himiob.

The other teams in the fall 2015 pitch contest, which also are eligible to pitch during the TeleBrands competition, were:

  • Amigo, low-cost and more convenient tour guides: junior Azucena Amez, Management; senior Vincent Behne, Management; junior Al Garcia, Psychology; and sophomore Naomi Hogan, Economics.
  • Cannon Crate, a health and fitness subscription service: seniors Sean Donoghue, Marketing; Nadeer Faragalla, Psychology; and Dylan Heningburg, Anthropology.
  • Erocliptic, a dating app based on horoscopes: senior Hailey Aromand, Management; junior Thiago Chiovaro, Marketing; junior Sarah Haycock, Family & Child Studies; junior Alexandra Mezzina, Sports, Events and Tourism.
  • One Stop Shop, an app to make grocery shopping easier: senior Kayla Paladino, Sociology, and junior Chantel Simon, Marketing.
  • Park Along, a marketplace to rent your driveway: senior Eunice Choe, Management; senior Stefanni Martinez, Psychology; and sophomore Matthew Meade, undecided major.
  • Pick 6, a sports apparel subscription service: senior Brian Cherello, business; sophomore Manuel Martinez, business; junior Joseph Varrecchia, Finance; and junior Arabia Winston, undeclared major.
  • Unwritten Path, a career counseling service: sophomore Nya Bobien, Fashion, and junior Lexi Tramaa, a business major.

To learn how you can get the Certificate of Entrepreneurship and be eligible to pitch for $10,000, contact Sharon Waters at