Fashion-Forward-Thinking Student Wins Spring Bluejay Tank Competition

May 23, 2024 | by the Office of Marketing and Communications

bluejay tank

Elmhurst University junior Jade Villalobos took first place at the Spring 2024 Bluejay Tank Pitch Competition for her startup idea—the “Fashion Forecast” app, which would help users plan their outfits according to the weather, with clothing and accessories they already own

Villalobos, a digital marketing communication major from Chicago, won $1,500 for her business proposal, which she described as a “personal meteorologist” that would use artificial intelligence to create a more personalized experience for users. The app also would allow users to connect with each other and compare and share ideas. She envisioned forming YouTube and Amazon partnerships and hiring Elmhurst computer science majors to help execute her vision.

Four Elmhurst University students competed in the spring Bluejay Tank competition, which was held at the Innovation DuPage business incubator in Glen Ellyn “to give the students exposure to the greater entrepreneurial private sector community,” said Patrick Yanahan ’94, MBA ’10, executive in residence for Elmhurst’s E-celerator Innovation & Entrepreneurship Program.

Each contestant gave a 10-minute pitch to a panel of five judges, all successful entrepreneurs who built their businesses from the ground up and could provide the students with insight into the hard work and perseverance needed to launch a new entity.

Olamiposi Ogunbiyi, a sophomore cybersecurity major from Nigeria, won the second-place prize of $1,000. Ogunbiyi pitched “EasyJay,” which he described as “a revolutionary mobile application designed to streamline payment processes” for Elmhurst students. By integrating tap-and-pay technology with students’ existing JayPass cards, EasyJay would reduce the waiting times in the cafeteria and other

campus facilities, while also minimizing the risk of lost or misplaced JayPasses.

Brady Lucas ’24, who graduated this academic year with a bachelor’s degree in finance and is currently pursuing an MBA, was awarded the third-place prize of $500. Lucas, of Lindenhurst, Ill., pitched “LITM,” or “Live In The Moment,” a subscription clothing line whose brand is focused on mental health awareness and providing support for mental health organizations and people struggling with mental health issues.  He hoped LITM would inspire people “to be more positive and live in the world around them, instead of in their heads.”

“This spring we were thrilled to see a nice mix of majors among the contestants, including undergraduate cybersecurity, digital marketing, physics, and also an MBA student, which shows that this program appeals to all majors and unique ideas,” Yanahan said.

Contestants were judged on the panel’s first impressions about the business proposal; how well the pitch was delivered, the content in the proposal, the quality of the business idea’s digital component (a website, database, app, etc.), and each contestant’s ability to answer the judges’ questions confidently and clearly.

“The quality of this semester’s Bluejay Tank Pitch Competition was really impressive,” said Martin Gahbauer, executive director of the Weigand Center for Professional Excellence. He credited its success to the Elmhurst E-celerator, which hosts the competition, and Yanahan’s efforts. “Now in its fourth year, the E-celerator continues to grow through Patrick Yanahan’s committed, student-first leadership,” Gahbauer said.

Opportunities like the Bluejay Tank competition provide Elmhurst students with access to active members of Chicago’s entrepreneurial community, giving students a professional edge as they prepare for careers and whatever comes next.

Connect with #elmhurstu