Eighth annual Make-A-Pitch Competition is the most competitive to date


Kalamazoo senior Tabitha Haney, left, and Lake George senior Matthew Skornicka pitch their endless water pet food idea to the judges at the Make-a-Pitch event on Dec. 6 in Grawn Hall.

This year’s Make-A-Pitch competition saw a record amount of 39 student-led teams gather in the Grawn Hall atrium on Dec. 6 to pitch their entrepreneurial ideas in front of judges for prizes and recognition.

Each team was given two minutes to pitch their idea and the judges were given two to three minutes to give constructive criticism to help these students improve those ideas. The judges comprised of several successful business owners and Central Michigan University graduates and faculty who had the necessary experience in the business worlds to help these students.

Out of the 39 teams that competed, five teams were recognized for having the best pitches of the night. 

One of these winners was a team called Drone the News, who received the first-place prize of a $500 gift card to the CMU Bookstore. Drone the News was created by two second year graduate students, Zachary Huffman and Tim Harkleroad, and is designed to help news organizations alleviate the cost of news helicopters by replacing them with drones. 

“The winning factor tonight was our good teamwork," Harkleroad said. "We’re personal friends, and we work really well together. Seeing it all really pay off has a huge impact on us,”   

Huffman and Harkleroad both expressed interest in moving forward with their idea by pitching it at next semester’s New Venture Competition. 

The winners of the second-place $100 gift card prize were a team by the name of Revolve Farms. Created by junior Brendan Mantey and senior Kyle Platt, Revolve Farms is an idea meant to solve the problem of a lack of sustainable and fresh food.  

“It’s a very important aspect to let us go through ideas and really refine what we’re trying to say, what we need to improve on, what we really need to get done before New Venture,” said Mantey. “It really narrows down what we need to focus on these next couple months.” 

Seniors Tabi Haney and Matthew Skornicka received the third-place prize of a $50 gift card for their idea Endless Waters Pet Food. The service aims to provide high-quality, low-cost pet food to combat the unhealthy pet foods currently dominating the market. This is Skornicka’s second year participating in this competition and his second time winning third place.

“Every pitch I’ve given since my first one has been changed based on the feedback I’ve gotten from judges and so far, its seemed to help,” Skornicka said.    

Two teams, named Quick Tutor and Bookie Rookie, tied for fourth and fifth place, respectively. Quick Tutor is an idea that was created to help people connect with tutors for any possible skill a person would want to learn. 

Bookie Rookie is an idea geared towards college students and gives them the ability to buy or sell textbooks to and from each other at fair prices. 

This year’s Make-A-Pitch competition was one of the largest and most competitive ones to date. The judges constantly emphasized how difficult it was to narrow it down to five winners and praised all of the teams on their hard work and great presentations.