Eagle’s Nest Pitch Competition finds it’s winner


Hayden Leslie on stage during the pitch competition. Leslie’s company “Xtra Hand” won third place and the People’s Choice for best invention | Bailey Monteith for The Easterner

By Dylan Harris, Contributor

The second annual Eagle’s Nest Pitch Competition announced its champion Friday night at the Showalter Auditorium. Healthcare Communication Innovations, a team made up of Ryan Douse, Brendon Winston and Jessica Ochoa, placed first in the “Shark Tank” style event and won the grand prize of $2,500.

The competition is put on by the EWU Center for Entrepreneurship. It offers EWU students of any major the opportunity to develop their entrepreneurial ideas and eventually present them to business professionals and gain valuable feedback. Out of the 37 teams that attempted to qualify, six made it to the final event. The final panel of judges consisted of five business professionals.

Students Yuki Ono and Kosuke Nakamuru from Mie University | Bailey Monteith for The Easterner

HCI pitched its idea for “Prosper,” a data platform dedicated to improving accessibility and efficiency for patients in mental and behavioral healthcare programs. HCI says that due to the opioid crisis and several other factors, the number of patients is growing which naturally leads to longer waiting periods between appointments.

“Prosper” would allow patients to track and log their experiences or symptoms in real time on a platform that is also available to their doctor or therapist. HCI hopes this would allow more time during appointments to find solutions and fix problems rather than spend too much time figuring out the problem and discussing the past instead of the future. “Prosper” would also be able to send alerts to patients’ doctors or to helplines in the case of an emergency.

Douse and Winston said they plan to keep this idea going and see how far they can take it.

“We have a couple different things we are pursuing while at the same time developing this,” said Douse. “In the next couple of weeks we get to meet with the state director of Medicaid which is a big avenue for this.”

Placing second in the competition was Chandler Wesson and Bella Chavez, who pitched an idea for “Evergreen Water,” a company that would use a more environmentally friendly type of plastic for water bottles that requires less plastic, less energy and takes up less space. They won a second-place prize of $1,250.

The third-place finisher was Hayden Leslie and his idea for “Xtra Hand,” a desktop organizer that could offer a solution to the small desk spaces offered in many classrooms. The organizer would clamp on to a desk and has spots for a laptop, notebook and even a drink. He won a third place prize of $750. Leslie also won $500 for the “People’s Choice Award,” an award voted on by the audience at the event.

“I’m going to use some of the money to further my project, but I’m still very much in the beginning stages,” Leslie said.

The dates are already set for next year’s competition and Dr. Bruce Teague, director of the EWU Center for Entrepreneurship, encourages all EWU students to participate.

“I hope that every student who comes here, comes away with the idea that anyone can be an entrepreneur,” said Teague. “I want everyone who comes to this campus to know that if you’ve got an idea, whether it’s a small idea or a big idea, we’ll help you.”