Kurstin Laceky, a senior at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, won $3,000 as the top winner at the Moody Pitch Competition recently.

Laceky won for her business idea of Waterhem’s, a patent-pending, all-in-one portable urban chicken feeder system, in the competition put on by the Moody College of Business and the BRF’s Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program, which provides services to innovative startups and works to stimulate entrepreneurship opportunities in north Louisiana.

Students first participated in a speed consulting and business development workshop online last month and then submitted pitch presentations for evaluation to determine the five finalists.

“The Moody Pitch Competition has helped me take this project further than I ever thought I would,” Laceky said. “I’m excited to connect with people and share my passion for agriculture with those who have a similar passion.”

Shelby Stewart, an MBA candidate, won second place and a cash prize of $1,000 for Tots & Tailgates, LLC, a safe and portable truck bed playpen for toddlers. Darcy Fabre, also an MBA candidate, won third place and $500 for her idea, Precious Human, a DIY textile production company using local Acadian brown cotton.

The top three winners also won professional services from EAP for six months, and the five finalists will receive scholarships to the Louisiana Startup Prize to compete for a $25,000 grand prize, as well as one year of membership to the Opportunity Machine.

“Small businesses and entrepreneurs make up 55% of all the businesses in Louisiana,” said EAP director Dave Smith, one of the contest’s judges. “We at EAP want to support students and young entrepreneurs so they have the knowledge to really be successful when they launch a business.”

Other judges were John F. George Jr., BRF president and CEO; Brian Bolton, UL business professor and endowed chair in finance; Heidi Melancon, director of the Louisiana Small Business Development Center at UL; Whitney Savoie, former marketing director at Waitr; and Missy Rogers, president of Noble Plastics.