WMU fifth annual business pitch competition

Western Herald – news

This Friday, March 24, Western Michigan University will host its fifth annual business pitch competition. Students have submitted their business pitches and the organizers have narrowed the competition down to twenty-four semi-finalists who will present their ideas on Friday. For the semi-finals there will be six rooms and four 3-minute pitches will be presented, the winner from each room will move on to the finals which will be judged by a panel of local business owners.

The competition was inspired by and created to honor Dr. K.C. O’Shaughnessy, a professor of management in the Haworth College of Business and director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, who passed away in 2011. According to the organizers of the event, O’Shaughnessy’s work at WMU to the entrepreneurship major and minor, and the business accelerator program Starting Gate.

The competition is designed to be jumping off point for students to start thinking about a business idea they might have and how to execute it, Laurel Ofstein, an Associate Professor of Management and one of the organizers of the event, explained.

“The idea is to give students a chance to practice a pitch for an idea that they [students] have for a business that isn’t developed yet, though it can be one that is developed that they’re currently running but for most students it’s just a starting point for thinking about a business idea,” Ofstein said, “And they get practice boiling all the ideas in their head down to a three-minute pitch.”

The majority of the twenty-four finalists are either business or engineering majors, however this year they’re also theater arts and biomedical science majors in the competition. According to Ofstein, the competition has always been open to students of any major and they’ve been working hard to advertise the event in as many places as possible …

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