Coker College Students Win Seven Out of the Eleven Prizes Awarded for 2018 P.E.E. D.E.E. Idea Challenge

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Hartsville, S.C. – April 20, 2018 –  On April 18, 2018, ten semifinalist teams from Coker College, Florence-Darlington Technical College, and Francis Marion University competed for $5000 in prize money at the second annual P.E.E. D.E.E. Idea Challenge, with Coker College well-represented with seven teams and winning $2600 in prize money.

The P.E.E. D.E.E. Idea Challenge is open to all students from Coker College, Florence-Darlington Technical College, and Francis Marion University, and gives them a chance to pitch a new business idea to a group of local business leaders and win cash prizes.  27 student teams submitted business ideas and ten semifinalists competed on April 18, pitching their business idea in three minutes and then answering questions from a panel of five judges. All 10 semifinalist teams automatically qualified for a $200 semifinalist cash prize.

Coker students presented the following business ventures:

  • Sell It on Campus, by Joao Victor Santos, is a website designed specifically for higher education institutions that facilitates trading for the campus community, empowering college students to become more entrepreneurial and preventing useful items such as furniture and utensils from reaching the landfill. Sell It on Campus was a finalist winning a $800 cash prize.

  • YoFood App, by Gina Cerezuela, is a creative money sharing app that ensures college students spend money from their parents in the right way. YoFood App was a finalist winning a $800 cash prize.

  • Exercise Adventure, by Emily’Rose Shepherd, is a cell-phone virtual reality experience that offers fitness classes, multiplayer games, and adventure bracelets that combine friends, fun, and fitness in a unique and creative way. Exercise Adventure was a semifinalist winning a $200 cash prize.

  • Lost & Found, by Austin Lantz, is a tracking device that can be placed onto anything you don’t want to lose, including a stuffed animal or bracelet for your children, to find their location at any time. Lost & Found was a semifinalist winning a $200 cash prize.

  • Seven Pines Event Venue, by Mary Kooper, provides an escape from the boring monotony of the typical, indoor city venue and offers a great space for weddings, birthday parties, concerts, and more. Seven Pines Event Venue was a semifinalist winning a $200 cash prize.

  • Tossed, by Kaila Miller, aims to change the norm of fast food.  Primarily serving salads, the restaurant spotlights fresh and organic foods in every meal with locally sourced ingredients and meals prepared on the spot. Tossed was a semifinalist winning a $200 cash prize.

  • VR Green 360, by Nicolas Parra, is a new virtual reality company that will give you the opportunity to play beautiful golf courses at any time in the comfort of your own house. VR Green 360 was a semifinalist winning a $200 cash prize.

“Joe Aniello of Francis Marion University, Steven Weingartner of Florence-Darlington Technical College, and I are thrilled with the growth we have witnessed during the second year of this innovative partnership,” says Dr. Andy Burkemper, Director of Coker’s Center for Leadership and Entrepreneurship.  “We are very grateful that the Wells Fargo Foundation and The Clouse-Elrod Foundation, Inc. have sponsored this event over the past two years, and we are looking forward to the continued impact that this competition will have on our students and the Pee Dee region for years to come.”

For more information about the P.E.E. D.E.E. Idea Challenge, please visit or contact Andy Burkemper at




Coker College is a student-focused, private liberal arts college located in Hartsville, South Carolina. Coker combines round table, discussion-based learning with hands-on experiences to encourage active participation in and out of the classroom. A supportive, close-knit community prepares Coker students with the confidence and practical life skills they need to reach their personal best, in college and beyond.

Founded in 1908, Coker is a bachelor’s and master’s degree-granting institution and competes in 24 NCAA Division II sports. Coker is ranked among the "Best Colleges" in the South by U.S. News & World Report as well as The Princeton Review, and by Washington Monthly as one of the Southeast's "Best Bang for the Buck" colleges.