Student entrepreneurs to compete in Make-A-Pitch Dec. 6

Make A Pitch
South Lyon senior Matthew Finneran presents his elevator pitch during the Make-a-Pitch competition on Dec. 1, 2016 in Grawn Hall.

Aspiring student entrepreneurs will have a chance to showcase their ideas at the eighth annual Make-A-Pitch competition at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 6 in the Grawn Hall atrium.

The yearly event hosted by the College of Business Administration is structured similarly to the television show "Shark Tank," and will see students work in separate teams to present a two-minute pitch of a business idea they’ve come up with. 

Each idea will be heard by a panel of 12 judges who will give teams feedback on their ideas and the effectiveness of their presentation. 

A total of 30 teams are expected to compete for various monetary and recognition prizes. The prizes include a first place prize of $500, a second place prize of $100 and a third-place prize of $50. 

Make-A-Pitch is meant to help teams decide if they want to continue to pursue their business ideas into the spring semester for the New Venture Competition.

Taking place on April 13, the New Venture Competition is structured like a more rigorous version of Make-A-Pitch. Teams will give a 10-minute pitch about their idea for a product or service to judges for the chance to win the $30,000 award for Best Venture.

At last year's event, more than $77,000 in awards were given to student teams. 

Bruce Marble, executive director of the Isabella Bank Institute serves as the facilitator of the Make-A-Pitch and New Venture programs. Marble believes Make-A-Pitch is the first step in helping students take an idea they have and do something with it. 

“I want to see people take the first step by deciding to be there,” Marble said. “It’s so empowering to take the first step, take your idea and convert it to action.” 

The competition comprises two rounds, with nine teams moving into the second round to compete for the prizes.    

The competition will be an opportunity for the teams to receive feedback on their ideas from judges who have experience in the entrepreneurial field. It will also give students the opportunity to network.

"We see a lot of students who are interested in new ventures, but they're just not sure they have a good enough idea and what we tell people is that with Make-A-Pitch, everyone should try it," Marble said.