On Friday, March 23, 2018, The annual K.C. O'Shaughnessy Business Pitch Competition and Showcase will be held at Schneider Hall in the Haworth College of Business from 1 to 3:30 p.m. This competition is open to all students that attend Western Michigan University.
“Since 2014, WMU has held a Business Pitch Competition honoring Dr. K.C. O'Shaughnessy, a professor of management in the Haworth College of Business and the founding director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, who passed away in 2011,” said Dr. Robert Landeros, the director of the center for entrepreneurship and innovation, in an email interview. “The work he started in the area of entrepreneurship led to the creation of events like this competition, the major and minor in entrepreneurship and the formation of the business accelerator Starting Gate. His legacy lives on in the students who now benefit from these programs.”
During this competition, students are expected to present a three minute pitch about an innovative business idea. They will be presenting to an audience of potential investors where four prizes will be announced.
There are four cash prizes for the top four pitches: $2,000 for first place, $1,500 for second place, $1,000 for third place and $500 for the people's choice or most entertaining pitch. The student entrepreneurs are rewarded the money to further pursue their business idea.
“The Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation developed the idea (of) a three-minute pitch competition open to all (of) WMU,” Landeros said. “In recent years the competition is the responsibility of two entrepreneurship faculty, Dr. Laurel Ofstein and Ms. Lara Hobson.”
The students entrepreneurs are judged on the creativity of their business idea. The business pitch should be viable and legal, according to Landeros. The participants are also judged on the quality of the pitch or presentation as well as the persuasiveness or selling point to the judges.
Last year’s first place winner business pitch was “Just Right Temp,” a device that monitors and help regulates body temperature while sleeping to combat insomnia. The second place winner for 2017 was “The Rotating Drying Rack,” a slow spinning rack that dries clothes by airflow and is a quiet, low energy alternative.
The competition is annual and prizes vary year to year. This is also an opportunity for networking for the student entrepreneurs. The competition has several rounds. Students must apply in order to be a participant in the competition. Students can apply at http://www.wmich.edu/pitch.