McCalley Cunningham is a junior animal science major from Iola, Texas and wants to pursue a career in veterinary medicine. However, she’s probably not your typical pre-vet student. One of her major interests is entrepreneurship. During her freshman year, Cunningham participated in A&M’s Startup Living Learning Community, a program run by Startup Aggieland where like-minded freshmen live in the same dorm hall and work towards developing an entrepreneur’s mindset.
It seems participating in the community paid off as Cunningham and her team of fellow students recently competed in a national pitch competition. The National Conference and Pitch Competition, hosted by the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO) brought together nearly 1,500 young entrepreneurs, students and faculty nationwide to provide a 2 1⁄2 day forum that informed, supported and inspired college students to be entrepreneurial and seek opportunity through enterprise creation. CEO is a global network consisting of over 250 chapters and 7,500 students. The conference also offers students the opportunity to network with peers on a global platform.
During the National Conference, CEO orchestrated the largest student pitch competition in the United States. The pitch competition is structured around a quick one minute and thirty seconds pitch, essentially, the time it would take you to pitch your idea while riding in an elevator. There were 140 collegiate entrepreneurs that applied, with 61 being selected to attend the conference. Cunningham and fellow team members, Dayana Hansley and Mo Adesamni, both fellow Texas A&M students, place second overall with their business, Motley Tool. They were awarded $2,000 to move forward with their business.
Motley Tool is a patent pending product that combines 10 of the most frequently used tools by firefighters and hazmat technicians into one lightweight device. The team’s next steps are to develop the tool in two different metals and put those prototypes into the hands of firefighters at Brayton Fire Training School. They plan to share the tool with the Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) for testing followed by mass production to start selling the product. Cunningham and team would like to expand into the military, oil and gas industry and the agricultural industry. Cunningham is an outstanding example of how our students think outside of the box and impact the world around them.
For more information regarding news from the Department of Animal Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Texas A&M University, please contact Maggie Tucker at firstname.lastname@example.org or (979) 845-1542.