Honing Skills, Making Deals at Buntin Pitch Competition

$5,000 in cash awards presented to student entrepreneurs  

by Jasmine Simmons

Belmont University’s Thomas F. Cone Sr. Center for Entrepreneurship hosted its 2nd annual Buntin Pitch Competition, April 3. Nine students across multiple disciplines pitched their businesses to a panel of guest judges for the chance to win seed money to support their creative ventures.  

Belmont’s entrepreneurship program is a space where students from any discipline can receive guidance, mentorship and resources that encourage them to unleash their creativity and develop new ideas for turning their passions into viable entrepreneurial endeavors.  

The Buntin Initiative, sponsored by the Buntin Family, is a university partnership that seeks to support student entrepreneurs as they work to launch a business in a creative field through opportunities like the spring business pitch competition.   


Audio engineering technology student Asher Beaux [Oliver Isenberg] received the first-place award of $2,500 for AZ ROOMS, his solution to a problem plaguing musically-oriented students in Nashville. 

“There’s nowhere to make records,” Beaux said. “Or should I say, there’s nowhere for someone like me, a college student, to make records.”  

With AZ ROOMS, Isenberg seeks to provide a creative environment for music makers at rates that are more accessible than the current market which charges upwards of $100 every 2 hours for recording.


As a freshman Abigayle Griffith took home the first-place award at the inaugural Buntin Pitch Competition last year. This year, the music therapy student accepted the second-place award of $1,500 to continue developing the Therapeutic Algorithm for Music Analysis (TAMA). 

“What if I told you that the way you listen to music and what music you listen to actually impacts your mental health,” Griffith asked.  

TAMA is a website that analyzes consumer listening patterns and uses an algorithm to track possible emotional triggers, potential onset of mental illnesses and destructive listening patterns.    

Griffith’s business concept wasn’t the only thing that impressed the panel of judges. Her presentation skills, clarity of concept and confidence left a lasting impression. 

“I cannot believe you’re a sophomore,” said Sarah Moseley (creative entertainment & industries ‘17), pitch competition judge and founder of SongStory Music. “Your presentation, body language, and the way that you speak with confidence was just so impressive. Whether it’s this or something else, I believe you’re going to impact the world and you’re going to make a difference in some way. Don’t ever lose that.” 

Entrepreneurship and management double major Emma Collums accepted a $1,000 award as the third-place winner for High Cotton Events, a premiere event planning and management company committed to excellence and Southern hospitality and charm.   

Emma Collums holds third place check with Jami-lyn Fehr

“The entrepreneurship program, especially as an entrepreneurship major, has poured into me tremendously,” Collums said. “I was able to apply the things I’ve learned in classes such as competitive analysis, market research and customer acquisition to a real-life pitch. There is no other entrepreneurship program that offers classes, opportunities, and faculty quite like Belmont’s.”

Students presented a variety of business concepts that sought to find creative solutions to prevailing problems in numerous industries including fashion, music and media production. 

Other presentations included: 

  • Lauren Kokasha (music business) and Julia Kokasha (music business) pitched Remastered, an app that provides an easy to use service for buying tickets and streaming music all in one place. 
  • Leo Dunlevy (entrepreneurship) presented Dunlvey Productions which offers content creation solutions to businesses and professionals in the real estate industry. 
  • Tessa Pendleton (Spanish) presented City Live, a mobile app that seeks to increase the navigability and accessibility of Nashville’s robust live music scene. 
  • Kam’Ron Young (international business) shared Normak, a fashion brand with a vision to redefine the fashion industry by sharing the voices of those often unheard. 
  • Rachel Moore (interior design) with Little Lino Co., a roaming linocut craft business. 

Varina Buntin Willse and Frazer Buntin attended the competition. Buntin served on the judge’s panel alongside Moseley and Jami-lyn Fehr (fashion merchandising ‘18), founder of MODISTE. Along with judging, Buntin encouraged student competitors and highlighted the lasting takeaways of the competition.  

“Whether your company succeeds or not, that’s okay,” he said. “This may be a stair step for you. This is part of your education. People start companies all the time, they don’t work, and then they go on to do amazing things.” 

Although only three students took home monetary awards at the competition, every student who participated took away an experience to hone their pitches, expand their network and develop skills that will serve long after the cash awards are spent.