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'Resin' wins 2018 Make-A-Pitch competition

The annual CBA competition drew 37 teams


First-prize Make-A-Pitch winner Novi senior Natalie Wiest holds a check after winning the competition Dec. 5 in the Grawn Hall Atrium.

The team "Resin" won the 2018 College of Business Administration Make-A-Pitch competition with its idea for a THC-infused gourmet food delivery service. 

Advertised as Central Michigan University's "Shark Tank," Make-A-Pitch gave students the opportunity to pitch business ideas to a panel of judges on Dec. 5. 

Teams were given two minutes to pitch ideas, and judges were allowed three minutes for feedback. 

Novi senior Natalie Wiest was shocked when judges picked Resin as the winner from nine other finalist teams. 

"I've never won anything in my life," she said. 

Resin aims to deliver gourmet, THC-infused food to customers who may feel uncomfortable with smoking. Entrees would range from $15-20, and customers could customize the levels of THC for additional charges.

Wiest founded the idea for Resin with her partner, Nolan Shied, and the two prepared to pitch the idea together. However, Wiest was caught off guard when Shied had to go home the night before Make-A-Pitch for a family emergency. The day of the presentation, she had to reorganize the speech to deliver it alone.

"It was his speech and his dream, and I was worried I was going to go up there and say something wrong," she said.

But Wiest performed the pitch well enough to please the judges, and ended up with the first-place prize: a $250 Amazon gift certificate. 

"Just because this business is unconventional, doesn’t mean true entrepreneurship does not lie within," she said. 

The Make-A-Pitch competition drew a total of 37 student-led teams from 5 different colleges. 

Judges included CMU faculty members, such as David Nows, Caryn Shick and Kevin Campbell, as well as a number of Michigan entrepreneurs and business owners. 

Finalists included Sustainable Market, Sound Cup, Ignite Donuts, Ale Academy, Manitou Adventure Partnership, DIY Brew Club, Wright Place Wright Time, VraiFoods Syndicate and E-Coat Inc. 

Novi senior Casey Croad pitched his idea for Ignite Donuts, a business that would sell customized temperature-controlled display cases to local bakeries to keep baked goods fresh. 

This was his second year at Make-A-Pitch; he cited the supportive process of the competition as part of his success in winning fifth place this year

"Throughout the process, there are strangers and mentors there to give you advice, and all that advice leads to a better idea," he said. 

Croad presented Ignite Donuts at the NewVenture competition last spring, and found an investor to help launch his business. 

"I continue to learn the importance of networking through these events," he said. 

The event received a large amount of media coverage, and was broadcast live by Moore Hall Television on YouTube and on-air by The Mountain 91.5.

"We strive to give students transformational experiences," said CBA Interim Dean Karl Smart to open the event. "Things like this are iterative in nature, in that you get better as you do it. You're going to learn things to take into the business world."