Cobraventure Pitch Competition

CobraVenture is a student entrepreneur cohort for current Parkland College students who want to start their own business while still in enrolled in college. Students can be part of any academic program, but the thread that ties them together is the desire to take their idea from concept to commerce. Students will earn monetary awards for their business through participation in the CobraVenture Pitch Showcase. CobraVenture is a collaboration of the Office of the Vice President of Communications and External Affairs, Parkland College Community Education, and the Parkland Foundation.

2023 CobraVenture Cohort

Rebecca Smith

Rebecca Smith: Mobile Matrimony

2023 Student Entrepreneur of the Year

Mobile Matrimony is the next big thing in weddings! With more and more budget-conscious couples seeking an intimate, micro-wedding ceremony in a neutral setting, a mobile wedding venue becomes the answer. Think tiny home meets a wedding venue! Mobile Matrimony is a tiny chapel on wheels with the flexibility for a wedding ceremony anywhere the chapel can be parked, whether a public location or on private property. The chapel has the capacity to hold a wedding ceremony for the engaged couple and twenty guests or fewer. Mobile Matrimony offers wedding packages that include travel to the requested location, a wedding officiant, as well as added options for engagement photos, a wedding day photographer, floral bouquet, and wedding cake. In addition to the package options, the mobile chapel can be rented alone for an outdoor ceremony at a private location. Mobile Matrimony is also available for elopements as well as wedding vow renewals. Don’t let the cost of a wedding keep you from a wedding to cherish, call Mobile Matrimony for your affordable wedding solution!


Max Libman: CU International Film Festival (CUIFF)

2023 Second Place Winner

The CU International Film Festival is a 501(c)(3) founded in 2021 with the mission to inspire the next generation of filmmakers and film lovers by showcasing films that entertain, educate, and elevate. As part of its mission, CUIFF hosts free educational workshops for students to help empower them to create short films on topics that are meaningful to them. Our workshops bring in talented filmmakers as instructors, giving students the opportunity to learn from and interact with industry experts. CUIFF’s inaugural festival was held in October 2022 with short films submitted by high school students, college students, and indie filmmakers from coast to coast and around the world. CUIFF is building on the momentum from its inaugural year, and plans are already underway for next year’s workshops and festival.

Sophia Libman

Sophia Libman: X-Time

2023 Third Place Winner

X-Time is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides STEAM opportunities for elementary-age children through classes, summer camps with scholarships available, and X-PLORE Stations that house free, hands-on educational resources. X-Time was founded in the summer of 2020 and has grown each year. X-Time offers classes at community centers, farmers markets, and park district events. Our X-PLORE Stations can be found throughout central Illinois and are spreading from coast to coast, located in community and support centers, libraries in underserved communities, and pediatric hospitals. Our summer camps generate crucial funding to help support X-Time's free classes and stations. X-Time is excited to continue to expand, reaching more communities every day!

Gia Macedo

Gia Macedo: Gia's Thrifting

2023 Fourth Place Winner

According to, we discard 92 million tons of clothing-related waste each year. Much of the clothing we discard is due to overconsumption, which adds to the already high levels of pollution and environmental tolls our planet experiences. I realize that shopping sustainably can be expensive and time consuming. However, Gia’s Thrifting will be able to offer you the service and expertise you need to achieve that sustainable closet. As the sole owner of Gia’s Thrifting, I can shop for anyone, near or far, and provide them with garments that are preloved, in great condition, and fit their preferences. Down to the color, size, and style, I want the items I source for you to check every box on your wish list. With Gia’s Thrifting, you won’t have to pay crazy prices for a sustainably made swimsuit or go out and sift through overwhelming and difficult to navigate thrift stores. You will fill out a quick and easy form and I will do it all for you! Join me in shopping thoughtfully and sustainably with Gia’s Thrifting.

Joetaro Wilson

Joetaro Wilson: Yoshi-Shoku

2023 Fifth Place Winner

Have you always thought a Japanese food vendor would be closer to you, or that you want to eat Japanese food, but don’t have enough time to sit down and eat? Well, Yoshi-Shoku is a Japanese food truck that is a mobile eatery that serves Japanese cuisine to customers on the go without sacrificing the quality or taste of the food. The food truck offers a diverse menu of popular Japanese dishes such as pork cutlet curry, onigiri (rice ball) and yakisoba (fried noodle) and few other dishes. Additionally, the food truck business will offer a convenient catering option for events and gatherings, making them a popular choice for corporate events, weddings, and festivals. With the rising demand for Japanese food, a Japanese food truck can be a lucrative business opportunity in areas with high foot traffic and a diverse population.

The Japanese food truck offers customers a unique culinary experience with a variety of delicious dishes from Japan’s culinary tradition. The food truck dishes will be prepared with authentic ingredients and techniques. Overall, the Japanese food truck business provides a fresh and exciting take on the traditional Japanese cuisine and a convenient and delicious outdoor dining options for customers.


Mohamed Maamar: Digital Thrive Agency

2023 Alumni Award Winner

Digital Thrive Agency is a marketing company that specializes in digital marketing services. We help business thrive in the digital world by creating and executing customized marketing strategies that increase brand awareness, drive traffic, and generate leads. Our team of experts is proficient in all aspects of digital marketing, including search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click advertising (PPC), social media marketing, email marketing, and content marketing. We work closely with our clients to understand their unique needs and goals, and then develop a tailored strategy to achieve them. With our cutting-edge technology and industry expertise, we provide measurable results that help businesses succeed online. Choose Digital Thrive Agency to take your business to the next level in the digital world.

Derek Martin

Derek Martin: Mindset Coach & Motivational Speaker

2023 Alumni Award Winner

I am a mindset coach and motivational speaker helping people to face life challenges and learn how to process them with guided self-discovery. I have worked with people in the service industry my entire life. I have a real-life testimony, facing many challenges from being bullied growing up as a minority, discrimination, struggling with addiction, fear, and ageism. My purpose is to help inspire and motivate people to find the power that resides inside each of us and face life’s challenges. I believe prioritizing health and wellness in a mind, body, and spiritual path through a series of steps involving self-reflection, honesty, openness, and a willingness to understand yourself. With my help, you can face any obstacle that comes your way by mastering your mind and learning how to love yourself from the inside out.

Diamond Wright

Diamond Wright: Essential Life Properties, LLC

2023 Alumni Award Winner

Are you tired of paying $1,200 a month or more for a two-bedroom apartment or house, never finding the right fit to settle down? Do you have maintenance calls that go unanswered for long periods of time, feeling like you can never contact someone to help you? Don’t settle for less, it’s time for a change. Essential Life Properties, LLC is here to be that change. Here at Essential Life Properties, we know how hard it can be when you feel like the place, you’re at is not the place you want, or even need to be. Imagine a community that listens to your wants and needs from the beginning to genuinely understand and accommodate you. Imagine that same caring attitude throughout the entire time you stay at the property, not just until you sign your name on the dotted line. Essential Life Properties wants to build a community, No! We want to build a FAMILY because we at Essential Life Properties believe you should NOT be judged because your socioeconomic status is, you should NOT be judged on where you come from, you should NOT be judged if you’re a simple farm boy or girl who’s trying to build a life for themselves, or a person who is lost and looking for somewhere to call home. YOU DESERVE a place where you not only feel happy, but you feel like you can grow and build because at Essential Life Properties we know growth is essential to life. How can you grow if you are not in an environment that allows you to? Even a big bad shark can only grow as big as the environment they are in, I encourage you to step out of your small fish tank, step out of the status quo, and let us upgrade your life. Let Essential Life Properties show you that you not only need but deserve better!

Need More Information?

Contact Marc Changnon, Entrepreneurship Coordinator at or Cayla Waters at