Brooke Dominiak ’23 wins first SoCon Entrepreneurship Challenge
Brooke Dominiak ’23 pitched her way to a win in the inaugural Southern Conference Entrepreneurship Challenge, becoming the event’s first ever for-profit champion on Saturday, Feb. 26.
The competition involved teams from all 10 SoCon schools in two divisions, for-profit and not-for-profit. Dominiak won the for-profit division with her venture To-Go Bros, a meal delivery service for college campuses, that also won the 2021 Paladin Pitch Competition. She took home a trophy and a $10,000 check.
Alexandra Valdovinos ’25, a music education major, pitched her non-profit idea called Montaña, a business designed to reduce waste by redesigning sustainable reed packaging for musical instruments. She made it to the semi-finals.
“It felt like all my hard work and hustle had finally paid off, and I have never been so proud,” said Dominiak, a communication studies major. “My passion and drive for my business venture was reinforced when they called my name as the SoCon winner, and it was the best feeling ever!”
The Shark Tank-like format was created to “showcase students with an idea for an innovative business or non-profit organization,” and to illustrate that the conference “is more than just athletic competition,” according to a SoCon press release.
The competition was held at The Citadel’s Tommy and Victoria Baker School of Business. Students from each of the schools pitched their ideas to a panel of judges on Friday, and finalists were selected to pitch again on Saturday.
“What set Brooke apart from other competitors was the delivery of her pitch,” said Matt Reeve, manager of campus programs for The Robert and Margaret Hill Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “We helped her craft her pitch over the months by having her pitch to, and hear feedback from, multiple audiences, from The Hill Institute Leadership Council to her student peers to Fortune 500 CEOs.”
The competition helped Dominiak realize her company’s potential, she said. “To-Go Bro’s truly has the potential to revolutionize the on-campus food industry for colleges all across the nation,” she said. “The exposure and publicity I received from this event gave me connections with many investors who are interested in helping me implement this concept.”
She said she’ll use the cash prize to further develop her app and invest in technology that will enable her to test it at Furman and other universities around the country.