Business pitch competition and showcase open to WMU student entrepreneurs

contact: Stacey Markin
| WMU News
Photo of a student delivering a business pitch to judges.

A student delivers his pitch to competition judges.

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Students from across campus are invited to present their business pitches for cash prizes totaling $4,000 at the K.C. O'Shaughnessy Business Pitch Competition on Thursday, March 24, at Western Michigan University.

About the competition

Aspiring entrepreneurs will be asked to develop a three-minute pitch about an innovative business idea for an audience of potential investors. Students will be evaluated in progressive rounds by panels of judges comprised of faculty, entrepreneurs and members of the business community. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top four finishers: $1,700 for first place; $1,200 for second place; $800 for third place; and $300 for people's choice/most entertaining.

All student participants will have a chance to demo their products or illustrate their services at the competition showcase, an expo of all of the entries from this year’s competition.

"The pitch competition is a valuable tool for student entrepreneurs who want to move their ideas to the next stage," says Dr. Robert Landeros, chair of the Department of Management and director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. “The student entrepreneurs get valuable feedback from the judges. That sort of feedback is vital in forming long-term, successful business plans for their endeavors. “

This year the competition adopts a new name in memory of Dr. K.C. O'Shaughnessy, a longtime professor of management at WMU's Haworth College of Business and the founding director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. "K.C. would have loved to see his efforts come to fruition with this competition," says Landeros. "He was a champion of our students' creativity and the need for students to apply strategy to their ideas in order to emerge as the next generation of great entrepreneurial thinkers. This competition represents a jumping off point for some great future companies."

Information sessions for students

  • Monday, March 14: noon to 1 p.m., 3350 Schneider Hall.
  • Tuesday, March 15: 11:30 a.m. to noon, D132 Floyd Hall, Parkview Campus.
  • Wednesday, March 16: 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., 4267 College of Health and Human Services Building.

Competition

  • Thursday, March 24: 4 to 6:30 p.m., Schneider Hall and Fetzer Center (open to the public).

The competition is open to individuals or teams. A maximum of 24 teams may compete, with one student from each team delivering the pitch. Students interested in participating are encouraged to come to the information sessions. Applications are due by midnight Friday, March 18.

For more information, contact Landeros at robert.landeros@wmich.edu or (269) 387-5802. Visit wmich.edu/pitch for more details and to apply.

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