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The Daily Tar Heel

Carolina Pitch Party gives students opportunity to jumpstart ideas

carolina pitch party
Winning team of Carolina Pitch Party poses with award money. Photo courtesy of William Sweet.

For an assignment in a business class, junior William Sweet came up with the idea to create a cold compression sleeve for people recovering from ACL injuries. His idea won the fourth annual Carolina Challenge Pitch Party, which took place on Nov. 8 as part of the annual Carolina Challenge, a venture competition that gives students and faculty the opportunity to win funding for their idea. Sweet and his group received a $400 award toward the creation of a prototype.

Sweet, an offensive tackle on the football team, has been unable to play this year after suffering a torn ACL in UNC’s third game against Old Dominion. 

“Basically everyone in our class was assigned to come up with an idea and essentially form teams and make your pitch to compete for a prize,” Sweet said. 

Sweet had the opportunity to recruit three other teammates in the class who did not have ideas but still wanted to take part. Senior Sakile Trowers said she listened to everyone’s ideas in the class and realized she had a personal connection to Sweet’s idea. 

“William’s idea, it just seemed like a winner. It made sense to me, and it was personal to me simply because I had also gone through and still am going through the aftermath of an ACL injury,” Trowers said. 

The cold compression sleeve idea differs from similar products on the market because it cold-compresses the entire leg from the ankle up, while others only cold-compress certain body parts, said Sweet.

 “Naturally, it’s been proven that the RICE method — rest, ice, compression, elevation method — has been proven to work, and we just spark that method to get people back on their feet faster,” he said. 

Junior Alex Hensley was also on the winning team. He said the team’s goal was to sell the idea and pique the interest of investors. He was proud of the work his group put into making the presentation so effective. 

“The key to being so successful was our group was really good at talking to people, so we were all outside the table talking to everyone, trying to get as many people to come by our table as we could,” Hensley said. 

Trowers said the next step will be to get a prototype together, start networking with some of the investors and to attend more events like Carolina Pitch Party. She said she was grateful to work with her three other group members because of their enthusiasm and support.

“It was actually really refreshing because I’ve been on teams that have not been cohesive, and we got together and worked like a charm and it was awesome,” she said. “You always have to be grateful for the people around you.” 

Sweet believes this product will have the opportunity to touch a lot of lives in the future and enhance performance for both athletes and people in the everyday work force.

“I am just excited that I have an opportunity to really help people.”

 @danielleeeb5 

university@dailytarheel.com

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