FSB students sweep top spots in Launch It: Cincy pitch competition

Ben Corwin, Blake Faulkner, and Emil Barr as they learn they won

When Main Street Ventures announced the six finalists for its inaugural Launch It: Cincy Pitch Competition last month, a trio of Farmer School entrepreneurship students learned they would be in the running for the three winning spots.

In the end, the trio – Emil Barr, Blake Faulkner, and Ben Corwin -- won all three top spots. Barr, a sophomore majoring in economics, international studies, and entrepreneurship is founder and CEO at Step Up Social, Corwin, a senior majoring in journalism and entrepreneurship, is founder and CEO at AutoHive, while junior finance and entrepreneurship major Faulkner is founder and CEO at Bloxsmith.

“It was exciting to see the talents of three of our entrepreneurship co-majors in action,” John W. Altman Institute for Entrepreneurship director Tim Holcomb said. “Blake, Emil, and Ben demonstrated personal creativity and innovative thinking and a unique level of product-market fit with the companies they lead.”

Launch It: Cincy is a competition exclusively for undergraduate students in the Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky, and Greater Dayton region. The competition’s prize package supports the winning teams to stay in Cincinnati over the summer, build relationships within the Startup Cincy Ecosystem, and focus on building their business, offering:

  • Housing
  • Living Expenses
  • Office Space
  • Connections with other students working in Cincinnati
  • Mentoring
  • Attorney Hours
  • Accounting Hours
  • Opportunity to seek funding from Main St. Ventures

“Winning the Launch It: Cincy Pitch competition felt absolutely incredible! It was super rewarding to see our business model validated by a panel of judges and an audience full of potential clients. I'm really looking forward to spending the summer in Cincinnati with other amazing student entrepreneurs from Miami!” Barr said. “Most importantly, I can't wait to see what comes next for Step Up Social as we continue to grow our presence and develop new, game-changing services for founders and corporations alike.”

“I'm honored that the judges chose Bloxsmith, and I look forward to participating in the Launch It: Cincy program this summer! One of my favorite parts of the competition was getting to know the other finalists from Northern Kentucky University and the University of Cincinnati - not only were they inspiring entrepreneurs, but they're also tackling major problems in society with their startups,” Faulkner said. “I am beyond excited to be able to build Bloxsmith in Cincinnati and introduce the metaverse to the city.”

“When they called me as one of the winners, I was amazed. Everyone pitching had great presentations and great ideas. It's an honor to be selected as one of Main Street Ventures' winners of Launch It: Cincy. I'm excited to see where this accelerator program takes me this coming summer!” Corwin said.