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Northwest Missouri State University


News Release

Megan Ruckh, a senior business management and marketing major from Kansas City, Missouri, delivers a product pitch to a panel of judges during Friday’s New Venture Pitch competition at Northwest.

Megan Ruckh, a senior business management and marketing major from Kansas City, Missouri, delivers a product pitch to a panel of judges during Friday’s New Venture Pitch competition at Northwest. (Photos by Carly Hostetter/Northwest Missouri State University)

April 13, 2018

Pitch contest challenges students to develop, present products

Small business owners and investors comprised a panel of judges who peppered competitors with questions about their product ideas.

Small business owners and investors comprised a panel of judges who peppered competitors with questions about their product ideas.

Eleven teams comprised of Northwest Missouri State University students as well as local entrepreneurs pitched their potential products to a panel of business professionals Friday in hopes of earning valuable start-up prizes and a chance to land their products in the marketplace.

The annual New Venture Pitch Competition at Northwest provides business students and entrepreneurs with an opportunity to present their product ideas to small business owners and investors in a competitive setting. It also gives students the chance to network with professionals.

“It was definitely a unique experience that you don’t get unless you actually try to make a product,” Nathan Galbraith, a junior marketing and management major from Conception Junction, Missouri, said. “It really gives you a general feel of what it would be like, having to get up in front of people who have actually invested money and people who are actually doing this and being able to pitch to them.”

After three rounds that included one-minute “elevator pitches,” display booths and a final 10-minute pitch with a question-answer session, the Sure Kill Archery bow sight, an idea of area entrepreneurs Brian Reece and Stanley Sinclair won the competition. Their product, a three-in-one digital optic solution for archers, attaches to any bow and includes an instant digital range finder, video recorder and a field-accurate bow sight.

As the winning team, Reece, of St. Joseph, Missouri, and Sinclair, of Savannah, Missouri, earned prizes totaling more than $18,000 in value that included $4,500 toward qualified start-up expenses, legal intellectual property work from Spencer, Fane, Britt & Browne LLP and professional workspace at the Ennovation Center in Independence, Missouri.

While Reece has experience in pitching products to investors and several of his outdoor products are hitting the market, he commended Northwest students on providing some stiff competition. The annual contest is open to Northwest students as well as high school students and community members.

“It’s awesome that they have an opportunity to be part of something like this,” Reece said. “I wish I would have had this to become an entrepreneur when I was younger because I’ve learned so much from it. It’s quite the opportunity.”

The eight-member judging panel evaluated each presentation and ranked teams on the effectiveness and persuasiveness of their presentations, the innovation and quality in their ideas, the competitive advantage of their proposed businesses, effective discussion of financials, and proposed management teams. Ultimately, judges based their final decisions on how likely they would be to invest their own money in one of the proposals.

Beauty Boss LLC – a team of Northwest students Lindsey Gess, Rachel Hunt, Megan Ruckh and Tiara Ward – took second place in the competition for their product pitch of a hair spray designed to dry hair in minutes. The women developed the idea from their own travails of drying their long hair and trying to maintain its health.

In addition to receiving start-up expenses, property work and workspace at the Ennovation Center, Beauty Boss won the New Venture competition’s Will it Launch, As Seen On TV prize package, which includes a national TV market viability test, a two-minute television commercial and up to 100 percent of expenses covered for potential manufacturing, marketing and distribution to retailers as well as a royalty on sales under a license agreement.

Along with developing a product and preparing for their pitch, the students said they enjoyed the challenge of answering judges’ questions and having to think on their feet. “We were prepared, but we couldn’t prepare for every question, so I liked to sometime be caught off guard,” Ward said.

Northwest’s Melvin D. and Valorie G. Booth School of Business annually sponsors the competition through its endowment fund with additional support this year from Will It Launch, the Independence Ennovation Center, Spencer Fane LLP and OMNI Employment Management Services LLC.

Northwest alumna Holly Murphy-Barstow, who is owner and president of Barstow & Company LLC in Omaha, Nebraska, was the day’s keynote speaker.


For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

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