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New Venture Competition to kick off Wednesday


Students, staff and faculty gather for New Venture Competition on Apr. 13, 2019 in French Auditorium. 

The annual New Venture Competition (NVC) kicks off in less than a week with more than $100,000 in cash prizes and in-kind services for student start-ups.

NVC is a program for students to form a group and create their own start-up companies.  Groups develop prototypes and business plans and compete to win money to make their business a reality.  

All Central Michigan University students who were enrolled in Summer 2018, Fall 2018 or Spring 2019 are eligible to participate in the competition. Teams must have at least one student who is currently enrolled at CMU. 

Anyone interested in learning about the program should attend the annual Kick-Off event at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 5 in the Grawn Hall Atrium.

Jessica Meyers, the coordinator and media contact for NVC said check-in will start at 5:30 p.m. and the presentation will begin promptly at 6 p.m. Anthony Lazzaro, co-founder of Carol Health and 2014 NVC participant, and Zach Huffman, co-founder of Drone the News and 2017 Make-a-Pitch winner. 

Make-a-Pitch is like CMU's version of Shark Tank.  Groups have two minutes to pitch their business idea to professionals.  They receive feedback and have the chance to win a little money.

President Robert Davies is also scheduled to speak at the event, Meyers said.

New Venture is hosted by the Entrepreneurship Institute to give students the opportunity to turn their ideas into reality. The program consists of free workshops and networking events with investors and entrepreneurs.

Students who participate in New Venture create a team and come up with an idea for a business. Over the course of two semesters, teams attend workshops to develop their ideas and create business plans. They also have the opportunity to pitch their ideas and receive feedback from professionals.

Teams can win up to $30,000 to realize their business plan. Most prizes are around $10,000.

Last year, Team Elemental Co. LLC won the $30,000 prize for Best Overall Venture. Elemental is a company that produces thermal bras for breast cancer survivors.

According to their website, Elemental spent the summer testing their prototypes and finalizing a design. Their first fully manufactured bra came in on June 7.

Meyers said other some other businesses to come from the New Venture competition include RateGigs, which just launched its app to rate live concerts, venues and music festivals. Drone the News, another NVC company that provides news media companies with drones to replace news helicopters, is set to launch in the next six months.