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College of Business Administration prepares for the eighth annual New Venture Competition

Winners of the 2017 New Venture Competition stand with their winnings on March 25, 2017 in the Education and Human Services Building.

For 32 student-led teams, eight months of hard work and dedication will pay off during the New Venture Competition.  

The eighth-annual event, which runs from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. April 13 in the Education and Human Services Building and McGuirk Arena, is hosted by the College of Business Administration. Teams will compete in three separate rounds for more than $90,000 in cash prizes.

More than 70 successful business professionals will serve as judges at the competition. 

Bruce Marble, executive director of the Entrepreneurship Institute at Central Michigan University, emphasized the importance of this event as a learning tool for young entrepreneurs.

“We try to introduce (students) to mentors, advisors and experts and that’s a key part of it,” Marble said. “What they get to do at this event is pitch to those decision makers and actually earn capital to allow them to go forward with their idea.” 

Registration opens at 8:30 a.m. in the EHS Building for the start of the competition. Once registration concludes at 9:30 a.m., there will be a welcoming ceremony that leads into the first round of the competition, which starts at 10 a.m. Final awards will be handed out at 6 p.m. in McGuirk Arena. 

Each team will give a 10-minute pitch about their ideas in separate rooms in front of four judges. Once their pitch is over, the judges will have a chance to ask questions and give feedback. 

This year’s competition will introduce a new award category, the Investor Contribution Award. This award is essentially an audience choice award where everyone who registers for the event will receive investment poker chips they can use to invest in the student venture gallery displays. 

Graduate students Tim Harkleroad and Zachary Huffman, members of team “Drone the News” and first place winners at the Make-A-Pitch competition, plan to take the constructive criticism they received from Make-A-Pitch and use it to improve upon their idea for the New Venture Competition. 

“We got a lot of feedback after our pitch last semester at Make-A-Pitch that in our first 30 seconds we need to get across the concept of the company and how it’s going to be effective in the industry,” Harkleroad said. “That’s something we’ve been working on changing.” 

“Drone the News” is an idea that was started by both Harkleroad and Huffman to help implement drones into everyday news coverage. 

“Our largest asset has been the team of advisers and the team of people who want to help us and be a part of this and I think a lot of that has come from the New Venture Competition,” Huffman said. “We haven’t even competed in it, but we’re already seeing the benefits from what it has brought to us.”