The fifth annual Entrepreneurship Workshop and Pitch Competition took place over the past weekend, drawing interest from alumni and students alike. The event is open to current students and Graduates of the Last Decade (GOLD) to “receive networking, guidance and mentoring with experienced entrepreneurs and financiers; learn how to create a compelling pitch presentation, attract capital and build a concept to profitability; and compete for valuable prizes,” as the event's website details. Peter Kazickas ’15 won first place with his pitch for The Move, a mobile application that is designed to promote local social activities.
Students and young alumni come prepared with an idea for a pitch, refining their presentation over the course of the weekend. On Friday, Feb. 27, participants heard from last year’s winner, Sam Matlick ’17, to learn about how to create an effective pitch and tips for winning a pitch competition. Friday night through Saturday afternoon, teams attended office hours to receive feedback on their pitches from the competition’s judges: Michael Fawcett ’66, Hedy Foreman, Natasha Householder ’83, and Matlick. This was the first time a student has been invited to join the judges panel.
The competition began at 6 p.m. on Saturday and lasted well into the night. Each team was allowed to pitch for 15 minutes, before a five minute question and answer period for the judges. The judges then provide critiques, pointing out strengths and weakness of the presentation before deliberating and choosing three finalists for the Sunday morning competition.
The Sunday morning competition was “the closest thus far, each of the finalists were with a couple of points of one another,” Matlick commented. “This morning we were looking to see how well the teams took advice, revised their pitches, redid their powerpoints and re-presented their ideas,” he continued. The format followed that of the previous day but the judges were “even more critical.” They ended up selecting a first place winner, along with a second and third runner-up, as well as naming another team the “Best of the Rest.”
Peter Kazickas ’15 won first place with his pitch for The Move, a mobile application that is designed to promote local social activities. Users view a map of their area, where they can rate parties, share the event’s details, and chat with other people attending the event. Bars and clubs are also able to sponsor an event. Kazickas has been corresponding with a web development company overseas over the past four months to prepare the app; it is fully functional and will be hitting the market soon.
Sophia Henriquez ’15, Tori Kang ’14 and Taylor Morris ’14 came in second place with their idea SOLDE. SOLDE is all about the experience of having a personal consultant just a text, phone call or videoconference away to walk you through every step of your shopping experience. Abby (Campanie) Buchanan ’06 and her husband Will Buchanan took third place with their company AHMT, which makes high efficiency adsorbents for the chemical industry.
Sadiq Abubakar ’15 was named Best of the Rest for his idea, True Tailor. In his home country of Nigeria, it is common to get clothes made for special events or holidays. However, tailoring is more of a hobby than profession, so the tailors often serve an entire community and frequently cannot keep up with the demand. True Tailor would bring these tailors together online, offering a platform for them to compete for business and in turn make money for their trade.
Grand prize winner Kazickas will receive a year of advisory services provided by Meacham Woodfield, LLC (value $50,000), $5,000 in legal services provided by Foley Hoag LLP and a $2,500 cash prize courtesy of Meacham Woodfield, LLC.
The second place team was awarded $11,000 in coaching services provided by Hamilton Growth Partners LLC and a $1,000 cash prize courtesy of Meacham Woodfield, LLC. The third place winners will receive their choice of a mini coaching course on time management or goal setting (value $1,500) provided by Hamilton Growth Partners LLC and a $250 cash award. The Best of the Rest winner received a cash award and an IPad.