The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh walked away with top finishes—including the winner—in a business pitch competition among college students from northeast Wisconsin.
Jalen Greenlee, founder of Flora Fruit Company, a fresh fruit subscription service, placed first in The Pitch, taking home $10,000 and $15,000 in in-kind prizes. Greenlee, of Milwaukee, is a junior business major.
Ethan Keller, co-founder of North Coast Gear Co., placed third, and won $5,000 cash and $5,000 in in-kind prizes. Keller, who earned a bachelor’s degree from UWO in 2018, is completing a certificate program.
Jaden Radcliff, sophomore economics and physics major from Hortonville and founder of Rice Time, did not place, but represented UWO as an automatic qualifier after placing first in the Culver’s Business Model Competition.
“All three stepped out of their comfort zone to pitch something that they have a passion for, and it showed,” said Dan Brosman, director of Alta Resources Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and adviser to the UWO student teams. “Each communicated clearly how their business could be a viable opportunity. They are quick learners and worked diligently to prepare and present their ventures. I am extremely proud of the students, and I applaud their efforts in preparation for The Pitch.”
Brosman said all three teams are current participants in the Titan Accelerator Program. Greenlee and Radcliff participated in the Culver’s Business Model Competition at UWO. Brosman worked with all three participating teams to prepare for The Pitch.
Keller, a Monroe native who graduated in 2018 with a degree in geology, is completing a certificicate in geographic information systems while hoping to grow North Coast Gear Co. with innovative and sustainable solutions for outdoor enthusiasts.
Flora fruit wows judges
Greenlee said he was relieved and feeling grateful and proud when he won The Pitch competition.
“I had been working really hard on all the aspects of the pitch for a while,” he said. “And I knew if I did my best and executed, I would be content with the outcome that God had for me. After I was finished with my pitch, I felt I did in fact do my absolute best.”
The prize money will go toward marketing and to build infrastructure to support capacity as demand for the product increases.
Greenlee hopes to incorporate fresh fruit into as many Wisconsin diets as possible, while building a strong brand that can excel in the marketplace. His long-term goal is to one day end obesity and urban food deserts.
“These are two social causes I am very passionate about and I feel when Flora solves these problems, our country will be exponentially better because of it,” he said.
A junior business major, Greenlee said the UWO College of Business is “top-notch” and greatly helped his growth as an entrepreneur. He cited the college’s quality resources, facilities, connections, alumni and faculty.
He specifically credited Brosman and Colleen Merrill of the College of Business with helping him progress in his educational and business journeys.
Schools participating in The Pitch were Lawrence University, St. Norbert College, UW-Green Bay and UW Oshkosh.