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The Paladin

Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Lilly Woo ’24 Wins Fifth Annual Paladin Pitch Competition

Six students representing five business ventures competed for the $10,000 Johnny Flynn award at Furman’s fifth-annual Paladin Pitch Competition on Thursday, April 11.
Courtesy of Furman University
Senior Lilly Woo’s company Woo Milk was chosen as the victor of the 2024 Paladin Pitch Competition on Thursday, April 11.

In the first event of Furman’s Spring Weekend, students, faculty and community congregated in the Trone Student Center to hear from some of the Hill Institute’s fresh entrepreneurial minds.

In a competition designed to foster innovation and ideation, the Hill Institute created the Johnny Flynn Award for the victor of the Paladin Pitch. The award is named in honor of the 1969 alumnus who embodied the entrepreneurial mindset and embraced innovation.

This year’s lineup included athletes, authors, investors and more. Each entrepreneur had a distinct idea and a dream of taking home the $10,000 victor’s prize.

Lilly Woo ‘24: Woo Milk, a high-protein plant-based milk.
Conor Dowler ‘24: Palate Pal — the next generation of wine pairings.
Jack Travis ‘27: Cleat Clinger — cleat protectors designed for athletes on the move.
Alice Tyszka ‘25: Alice’s Authoring Company — aims to help aspiring authors write, publish and market their work.
Sawyer Sams ‘24 and Pedro Moreira ‘26: Enterprising Investing — to simplify investing for the masses.

The competitors pitched their ideas one at a time to a panel of judges and an auditorium of spectators. The panelists consisted of 2023 Paladin Pitch winner Spencer Tate ‘24 and 2009 alumna Kylie Felkner. Felkner currently serves as the President and Principal of Foster Victor Wealth Advisors in downtown Greenville.

Following the pitches, panelists collaborated to choose a winner, while the audience cast their votes for their “fan-favorite.” After a brief deliberation, a decision was reached.

Dowler took home the fan vote and a $1,000 check with his company Palate Pal. Tyszka finished as the competition’s runner-up and took home the $2,000 prize for Alice’s Authoring Company. Finally, Woo and her brand Woo Milk was named the champion of the 2024 Paladin Pitch and winner of the $10,000 Johnny Flynn Award.

Woo, a runner and outdoors enthusiast herself, is always looking for ways to get more protein in her diet. As one of 30 million individuals in the U.S. who experience lactose intolerance, this protein could not be supplemented from traditional milk sources. This untapped market inspired Woo to create an alternative milk brand that is high in protein and sourced from lean ingredients like almonds and cashews.

Woo was overjoyed to have won the competition during her confetti celebration and check reveal.

“Words cannot describe how grateful I am for the Hill Institute team,” Woo said. “They are a remarkable group of individuals who inspire me in countless ways.”

If all goes according to plan for Woo Milk, the product may be in stores and fridges nationwide. “Plant-based milk isn’t just a good choice, it’s the first choice,” Woo said.

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About the Contributor
Brock Eastman
Brock Eastman, Sports Editor
Brock Eastman is a junior from Summerville, SC. He is studying Biomedical Science and Religion on the pre-dental track. This is his first year with the paper and he’s excited to cover all of Furman’s teams and athletes. A fun fact about him is that he finished first in his age group in the Greenville Marathon two years ago.
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