Student’s taco business pitch wins Scheinfeld Center competition

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Dylan Harrison

First place winner Elvis Idunate and his business Texas Tacos at the 11th annual Scheinfeld New Venture Challenge on Friday, April 23, over Zoom. Idunate’s business Texas Tacos provides the students in Isla Vista quick, healthy and affordable breakfast options.

Dylan Harrison, Staff Writer

City College student Elvis Idunate topped the collegiate division and Kennedy Frisell won the high school division of the 11th annual Scheinfeld New Venture Challenge on Friday, April 23.

The business plan and pitch contest is separated into two different rounds featuring college students first, followed by the high school round directly after. Students presented their business plans and made pitches in front of established judges, competing for over $15,000 in seed money for their startup.

“We have many collegiate winners that go on to start successful businesses,” Julia Samson, director of Scheinfeld Center of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, said. “UnlockedBox, Oil Slick, and Casa de Comer Salsa are just three examples of very successful businesses that have come out of the program.”

The rewards for the winning college students are $5,500 for first place, $3,000 for second and $2,000 for third. Each prize also offers additional startup support for the winners.

Seven college student-led businesses made their pitches to the judging panel, with five entrepreneurs coming from City College. The featured businesses were WTR Pearl, Argonauts Tactical, Hur Salon & Spa, Bluriii, Solaris, Texas Tacos, and Peruvian Heritage.

The three judges for the collegiate competition included Founder of Triple Nikel Curtez Riggs, Partner at Emerald Peak Private Equity Mateo Neri and Founder of Unshackled Ventures Nitin Pachisia.

The trio deliberated for roughly 20 minutes before deciding a winner.

Riggs was “very impressed” with the diversity of the ideas being pitched and told the competitors to keep pursuing their endeavors regardless of their placing in the competition.

Texas Tacos placed first, WTR Pearl second, Solaris third, and Argonauts Tactical earned a special $4,500 military veteran startup award.

The winning business, Texas Tacos, provides people in Isla Vista with an affordable and quick breakfast. They serve breakfast tacos with pre-made ingredients to get the tacos out quickly. 

Pachisia was fond of Texas Tacos founder Elvis Idunate and offered Idunate a job in Sunnyvale, California.

City College’s Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation runs the yearly event to showcase student entrepreneurs in the Santa Barbara region.

This is the second consecutive year the competition has been held in a fully virtual environment. The proceedings were streamed live on YouTube, with coverage running from 2 p.m. to around 7:00 p.m.