DURHAM – Student and entrepreneur Jahmir Hamilton of North Carolina Central University won a pitch contest and $2,500 in cash at an event organized by the PNC Foundation through its North Carolina HBCU Initiative.

Hamilton’s concept?  IX Studio: Empowering others, through gaming.

Students from Elizabeth City State University won second place and $1,500 while a student at Winston-Salem State University won third place and $1,000.

Overall, nine teams from five North Carolina Historically Black Colleges and Universities competed in the event, which is a part of an initiative that PNC announced in February 2022.

That initiative saw the PNC Foundation commit more than $2 million across five multi-year grants to five different North Carolina HBCUs.

5 NC HBCUs to receive $2M+ from PNC to boost entrepreneurship

The competition

The competition was held on Friday. Judges for the contest were: Farad Ali, president and chief executive officer of Asociar; Jay Bigelow, entrepreneur-in-residence at the Council for Entrepreneurial Development; Carolyn Donaldson, minority business development relationship manager at PNC Bank; Jessie Maxwell, vice president and director of business strategy at Partner Community Capital; and Madison Potter, business solutions officer for the Carolina Small Business Development Fund.

And those judges based scores on innovation, clarity, comprehensiveness, feasibility, professionalism, the ‘wow factor’ of the presentations and their answers to questions from the judging panel, according to a statement released by PNC.

“Today’s competition provided a forum for North Carolina’s future business leaders to share their unique approaches to entrepreneurship and the creation of innovative products, services and solutions – while demonstrating skills and learnings from entrepreneurship programming and resources made possible through the PNC North Carolina HBCU Initiative,” said Weston Andress, PNC regional president for Western Carolinas in a statement. “We recognize the participants’ significant efforts to prepare for this competition and congratulate the prizewinners and the faculty members who mentor and support them.”

The competition was held at the International Civil Rights Center & Museum in Greensboro, N.C.