news-category: Godbold College of Business

Kendall Massey, of Gastonia, N.C., Wins First Dawg House Pitch Competition

the winners, judges and sponsors of the pitch competition standing on stage
From left, Assistant Professor of Business Dr. Angelina Zon Smith poses with first place winner, Kendall Massey, runner-up Kyle Mabwa, judges Mark Franklin, Esmeralda Majors and Hank Lynch, runner-up Antonietta Policastro, and second place winner Mason Martin. Photo by Cyrus Richer / GWU Student

Management Major Proposes Idea for Landscaping Business

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Kendall Massey of Gastonia, N.C., won first place in the first Dawg House Pitch Competition sponsored by the Entrepreneurship Club at Gardner-Webb University. Massey, a management major, pitched expansion of his business, Massey Landscaping and won $2,000.

Massey started the company in 2018 and plans to use the money to invest in equipment and marketing. He currently works long hours to run his business, play football, and attend school full time.

Kendall Massey pitches his idea to the judges. Photo by Cyrus Richer / GWU student

Mason Martin of Rock Hill, S.C., received second place and $500 for his Christ Above All apparel pitch. Martin said the goal behind Christ Above All is to equip believers with apparel that helps start a conversation to share the gospel daily. Martin stated, “Christ Above All is not just a saying, but a declaration to follow Christ continuously and daily.” 

Runners-up Kyle Mabwa, of Los Angeles, Calif., and Antonietta Policastro, of Shelby, N.C., received $100 each for their pitches. Mabwa, a graphic design major, presented an idea for Noiz customized sneakers. Policastro, a marketing major and minor in healthcare management, proposed SmartSleep. The club received a grant from Enterprise to award the prize money.

Mason Martin, left, second place, and runners-up, Kyle Mabwa, center, and Antonietta Policastro
Photos by Samantha Holt and Cyrus Richer

The emcee for the event was Desmond Williams. Judges were Mark Franklin, director of Customized Training and Development at Isothermal Community College in Spindale, N.C.; Hank Lynch, Software Solution Architect; and Esmeralda Majors, a retired educator.

The judges based their awards on the following criteria: comprehensiveness, feasibility, professionalism, answering questions and overall presentation. Franklin noted, “The winning proposal was thoughtful and thorough, and presented with passion and professionalism. All the proposals were highly creative and the presentations reflected the amazing entrepreneurial spirit of the students.”

Club advisor Dr. Angelina Zon Smith, assistant professor of business, expressed her appreciation for members of the Entrepreneurship Club in hosting this first-time event. “They worked hard all year to plan and develop the Dawg House Pitch Competition, and I commend their efforts to put together a great event for students.”

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to nine colleges and schools, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at

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