Smeal finance students win eighth Penn State Idea Pitch Competition

December 18, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Two Penn State Smeal College of Business senior finance majors teamed up to win the eighth Penn State Idea Pitch Competition recently.

Michael Black and Marlow Bryant won the $2,000 grand prize and a one-month coworking membership at New Leaf Initiative, a local entrepreneurship cooperative, for their winning concept called Parking Bee.

Parking Bee is an app that allows people who lease or own dedicated parking spaces to earn money renting them out when they are not using them.

“The reason we created Parking Bee is because parking is so expensive in big cities and areas with high parking demand and low parking supply,” Black said. “We thought this would be a great way for people to find cheaper parking alternatives.”

Black said he and Marlow plan to launch the app and website ( at the end of January.

A team of engineering students won the second-place prize of $1,000. Two Smeal students — Eric Campbell (supply chain and information systems) and Gregory Cho (finance) — were part of a team that finished third and won $500.

Black and another Smeal student took third place in the seventh Penn State Idea Pitch Competition in March.

“We are really excited to have won. We've been working really hard on launching the app and now that we have some money to work with it is really going to help us get this launched a lot faster,” Black said.

Hosted and managed by Smeal’s Farrell Center for Corporate Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the competition was created for the purposes of giving Penn State students, faculty, alumni, and Pennsylvania entrepreneurs the opportunity to work together to learn how to effectively formulate and communicate the value of innovative ideas and turn them into real opportunities.

  • A picture of Michael Black and Marlow Bryant.

    Michael Black, left, and Marlow Bryant, both Smeal College of Business senior finance majors, teamed up to develop a concept for a parking app that won first place in the eighth Penn State Idea Pitch Competition.

    IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated January 04, 2016