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Horn Entrepreneurship

Pitching for the Planet: 2024 REEF@UD Eco Entrepreneurship Fellows Pitch Day Recap

The 4th Annual Ratcliffe Eco Entrepreneurship Fellows Pitch Day, hosted by Horn Entrepreneurship at the Venture Development Center recently took place Monday May 6. Nine participants with a strong passion for the environment and sustainability came together to pitch their ideas to the judges and compete for a grab at the cash prize. Ideas ranged in all areas from, sustainable home buying, to energy conversion, to aquatic ecosystem preservation.

The Ratcliffe Eco-Entrepreneurship Fellows program at the University of Delaware (REEF@UD) serves as an opportunity for students to receive training, mentorship, and funding toward innovators aiming to establish environmentally focused businesses or products.The program welcomes students and community members alike. Over four months, participants learn key entrepreneurial skills, guided by experienced mentors. Each spring, teams present their ideas at a pitch day, competing for ongoing support and mentorship, with the aim of addressing pressing environmental issues.

“I was scared to get into entrepreneurship but I learned I can start a business even though I didn't have much experience at that point. Horn helped me get that confidence and resources.” From Saumya Agrawal, a UD junior and REEF@UD pitch participant.

Megan Pillsbury, Director of the Ratcliffe Eco Entrepreneurship Fellowship Program at UD, hosted during this pitch event, by informing everyone of the run of show and pitching rules, transitioning from one pitch to another, and introducing our judges. Each team has 5 minutes to pitch their idea and judges will have 3 minutes for Q&A.


Megan Pillsbury


Tomé Salgueiro

Participating Teams:


Mantra Yang


Erha Andini


Saumya Argrawal


Joseph "Teddy" Davies


Kylie Short

Sathiya Kannan
Alexandra Widman
Raghav Mishra
Annabelle Brame

Casa Verde - A platform that helps connect designers and homebuyers who are interested in homes that work with instead of against the environment. (Mantra Yang, UD senior double majoring in Communication & Computer Science)

Pakai Laboratories - Leads sustainable textile innovation by converting mixed-fiber garment waste into premium recycled yarns, offering businesses eco-friendly solutions with a closed-loop approach. (Erha Andini, UD Chemical and Biomolecular PhD candidate)

Helen of the Sea - Produces regenerative surf gear to help mitigate the ocean plastics crisis. (Alexandra Widman, Naturalist Guides from the Galapagos)

The Convertible Dress - A four way reversible dress with unique sleeve and hem attachments made from deadstock and scrap fabric in order to reduce the problem of overconsumption of evening wear in fashion to help eliminate textile waste. (Annabelle Brame, UD senior majoring in Fashion/Apparel Design)

Walk Wise - Tackles the issue of urban heat islands and unsustainable resource use through our product, piezoelectric tiles. These tiles transform pedestrian traffic into clean, renewable, usable electricity and offer a sustainable, cost-saving energy alternative for land and building owners. (Sathiya Kannan, UD senior majoring in Environmental Science with a concentration in Ecoscience and minors in Business Administration and Public Policy)

EcoTure - Provides multi-purpose upcycled indoor furniture made from plastic pollution rescued from oceans and freshwater bodies to style people’s home with love and self expression. (Saumya Argrawal, UD junior double majoring in Management and Business Analytics with a minor in Entrepreneurship)

Carbon Exchange Platform for India - Revolutionizing India's approach to sustainability, our platform will connect businesses with verified carbon credits and biodiversity projects, facilitating credible environmental investments to meet regulatory requirements and achieve conservation goals. (Raghav Mishra, UD senior majoring in Environmental Science)

Stardust Solutions - Repurposes end-of-life solar photovoltaic panels, ensuring their refurbishment and installation. This venture gives these solar panels a second life in small-scale applications, by connecting with local farmers to provide them modular and cheaper alternatives for their electricity needs. (Joseph “Teddy” Davies, UD sophomore majoring in Entrepreneurship)

AlGONE - Transforming water quality one device at a time, AlGONE offers a sustainable solution to combat algal blooms and preserve aquatic ecosystems. (Kylie Short, UD freshman majoring in Environmental Engineering)

Final Results:During this REEF pitch competition, $6,000 in cash prizes was allocated evenly to the top three teams. Congratulations to the winners:

1st Place - $2000 - Pakai Laboratories by Erha Andini

2nd Place - $2000 - The Convertible Dress by Annabelle Brame

3rd Place - $2000 -  AlGONE by Kylie Short

This pitch event wouldn't even be a competition without our esteemed judges. Thank you to our judges for providing their time, expertise, and vital feedback for participants. Our judges include: 

  • Libby Bernick
    Sustainability Leader and Former CEO, Impact Cubed
  • Elizabeth Sigety, Esq
    Managing Director and Co-Founder, DelawareCrossing Investor Group
  • James Wright
    Chairman of the Board, The Philip E. and Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation

Thank you to all who participated in, attended, judged, and put together the 4th Annual Ratcliffe Eco Entrepreneurship Fellows Pitch Day. The passion for sustainability and innovation shined brightly. It's clear everyone involved with the REEF@UD program is working together to turn ideas into action for a greener future. 

About Horn Entrepreneurship

Horn Entrepreneurship serves as the creative engine for entrepreneurship education and advancement at the University of Delaware. Currently ranked among the best entrepreneurship programs in the US, Horn Entrepreneurship was built and is actively supported by successful entrepreneurs, empowering aspiring innovators as they pursue new ideas for a better world.

Topics: entrepreneurship, events, competition, students, pitching, innovation, environment