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Jan. 19, 2016
By Lexi Ryan, media relations assistant
College students, high school students and members of the community interested in presenting their business ideas in a competitive setting are invited to register for the fifth annual New Venture Pitch Competition at Northwest Missouri State University.
The deadline to enter is Friday, March 11. The competition will take place Friday, April 15, in J.W. Jones Student Union at Northwest. It begins with registration at 7:45 a.m. and an opening session. The competition concludes at 3:30 p.m.
There is no entry fee and a meal is provided during a lunch session, which will feature keynote speaker and Northwest alumna Annie Brock.
The competition provides students and entrepreneurs the opportunity to present ideas to professionals, small business owners and others with experience working with new businesses. It also gives students the chance to network with business professionals and gain presentation experience.
“It is a great opportunity for those with a business idea to get great feedback, earn prizes that will help start their business, and network with other entrepreneurs and people associated with startup businesses,” said Dr. Ben Blackford, assistant professor of management, who annually coordinates the contest.
A team may enter by completing the online registration form. Entries will be accepted until March 11. Space is limited.
The business venture presented during the pitch must be developed by the team. The venture is eligible to enter the competition only once.
The competition format consists of three rounds of competition. During the first round, teams give a one-minute elevator pitch about their idea to a panel of judges. In the second round, teams set up a booth to present their business ideas. The judges will then visit the booths of the teams that impressed them most during the first round. Four teams are selected by the judges to advance to the final round.
The teams selected for the final round will pitch their business ideas, and judges will select an overall winner. 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, judges will base their final decisions on how likely they would be to invest their own money in one of the proposals.
Prizes for the competition total a potential value of $68,000. The winning team receives $3,000 toward startup costs for their business and a six-month lease at the Dean L. Hubbard Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship on the Northwest campus. The winning team also receives legal intellectual property work from Spencer, Fane, Britt and Brown LLP and legal startup work from Polsinelli, PC.
The top finisher also receives a national TV market viability test, offered by Will It Launch, As Seen On TV. Will It Launch will cover all expenses, valued at $50,000 if the test is successful.
The second-place finisher is awarded $1,500 toward qualified start-up expenses. The third-place team receives $1,000, and fourth-place receives will $500.
Sponsors for the event are the Melvin D. and Valorie G. Booth Endowment Fund; Will It Launch; Spencer, Fane, Britt and Browne; Polsinelli, PC; US Bank; and the Dean L. Hubbard Center of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
The competition starts with registration at 7:45 a.m. Friday, April 15, and concludes about 3:30 p.m. The keynote speaker begins at 11:10 a.m., followed by a luncheon from 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. The awards ceremony is scheduled for 3:15 p.m.
Annie Brock, vice president of managed services at DataBank, will be the day’s keynote speaker. She is a 1996 Northwest alumna, having earned degrees in government and journalism. She also earned a Master of Business Administration from Baker University.
During her final semester at Northwest, Brock was awarded an internship at the White House for the general counsel to the president. Brock joined the U.S. Department of State after graduation to work on the ALMA Project, a Y2K effort for the American embassies. Brock returned to the Midwest in 1999 and became co-project manager of the build-out of the Sprint World Headquarters Campus.
Brock was honored as one of Kansas City’s Rising Stars in 2011 and was listed among Ingram’s Magazine’s “40 Under Forty” for her contributions through business and community involvement. In 2014, she was also named one of 10 individuals to receive the Cadillac Lifetime Achievement award for her dedication and contribution to philanthropic efforts in Kansas City.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
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