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Northwest Missouri State University

News Release

March 1, 2013

Students, public invited to enter new venture pitch competition

University students, local high school students and members of the general public interested in presenting their business ideas in a competitive setting are encouraged to register for the second annual New Venture Pitch Competition at Northwest Missouri State University.

The deadline to enter is Monday, April 1, and participants will pitch their ideas to a panel of current business owners and business professionals Wednesday, April 17, at Northwest.

The objective of the competition is to expose students to the process of building and presenting a business plan as well as encouraging them to consider entrepreneurship as a potential career, said Dr. Ben Blackford, an assistant professor at Northwest who is coordinating the competition.

“The goal of this competition is to provide an opportunity for students to gain real world experience in an important aspect of entrepreneurship and small business,” Blackford said. “The idea developed from conversations with individuals on campus and in the community regarding possible ways to provide this experience, as well as from other such successful competitions across the country.”

Blackford said individuals participating in the competition will have the chance to explore a potential business idea and receive valuable feedback from successful entrepreneurs and experienced professionals. The competition also will provide students with an opportunity to network with professionals and gain presentation experience.


How to enter

A team may enter by completing the registration form online. Entries will be accepted until all spaces are filled or April 1, whichever comes first.

The competition will consist of three tracks – students enrolled in an accredited higher education institution, high school students and members of the general public.

The venture being presented in the pitch must be developed by the team. The venture is eligible to enter the competition only once and must not be attached to a business currently in operation.


Competition format

The competition for the university student and general public tracks will consist of two rounds of oral presentations. Teams will be allotted 10 minutes to set up and begin their presentations once the previous team’s presentation is complete.

During the first round, teams have 25 minutes to make their pitch to a panel of judges. The first 10 minutes of the presentation will consist of the team presenting an overview of their business idea. The remaining 15 minutes of the presentation are reserved for questions from the judges. For each track, the judges will select the best teams to advance to the next round.

The four teams selected for the final round will present again and the judges will select an overall winner for each track. During the final round, teams have 10 minutes to present their business idea, followed by 10 minutes of questions and answers.

Judges will use a scorecard to evaluate each presentation and rank teams on the effectiveness and persuasiveness of their presentations, the innovativeness and quality of their ideas, the competitive advantage of their proposed businesses, effective discussion of financials and proposed management teams. Ultimately, the judges will base their final decisions on how likely they would be to invest their own money in one of the proposals.



Several prizes will be awarded to winners of the competition. Listed below are a sampling of the in-kind prizes that have been donated by sponsors for the university student track.


About the competition day

Presentations will be from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., followed by lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. The competition will resume at 1 p.m. with the finalists presenting their plans. The awards ceremony is scheduled for 3:15 p.m.

In conjunction with the competition, a series of seminars aimed at helping people looking to start a new business will be offered. These seminars will be about 40 minutes each and provide information on marketing, presentation skills, finance and accounting, and legal issues. The seminars will be offered from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. The registration fee for the seminars is $10 and includes the lunch and keynote presentation. Registration for the seminars will open soon.

Brian Weaver
Brian Weaver

Brian Weaver, founder and CEO of Overland Park, Kan.-based Anthem Media Group, will be the event’s keynote speaker after the lunch.

Weaver also is a Northwest alumnus, having earned his Bachelor of Science in communications and philosophy in 1995. At Northwest he also was a member of the Delta Chi fraternity, Inter-Fraternity Council and played tennis.

In 2001, Weaver founded Anthem Media Group, a portfolio of marketing product and service companies that provides clients with creative, cutting-edge and practical solutions to help achieve strategic marketing and sales goals. The company’s portfolio includes groundbreaking magazines, websites, innovative marketing campaigns, and successful lead generation programs and provides solutions to industry leaders such as Microsoft, NASCAR, Ferrari, Motorola, Dell, GE, Siemens, International Speedway Corporation, Philips, Anheuser Busch, Coca Cola, Geico and others. Most recently, Anthem was named to Inc. 500s Fastest Growing Companies for 2012.

An avid endurance sports athlete, Brian also is a 2011 USAT All-American triathlete. Named Ironman XC’s 2011 Athlete of the Year for both 70.3 and 140.6 distances, he took class wins at both the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Las Vegas and Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. In 2011, Weaver was named among the fittest CEOs of the decade by Forbes Magazine.

For more information about the competition or to be notified when seminar registration opens, please contact Blackford at or 660.562.1282.

For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468