CEBI to host third annual pitch competition

Patricia Battle

The Center of Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation is hosting its third annual pitch competition this spring.

The CEBIpitch competition will give student entrepreneurs a chance to win cash prizes totaling in $30,000 to fund their business ideas.

The event is geared toward students in the entrepreneurship program at the College of Business Administration.

Students had the opportunity to apply to participate in the competition in January. Once selected, they then go through a 2 1/2 month long mentorship program, where they practice their pitches in front of business experts and receive feedback.

“In the mentoring program this year we’re adding different stages. We’re taking them to a competition in Tennessee, we’re doing things that will help them flourish for the pitch and also for their company,” said Melissa Gerbick, the manager of CEBI Operations.

The competition is set to take place on April 11 at the Governance Chamber in the Kent State Student Center.

Winners from previous CEBIpitch competitions have had success with developing their start-up plans using the prize money.

Anne Skoch, the winner of last year’s competition, used the money to open a studio to sell her merchandise of skyline designed pillows and purses.

“There’s a lot of inventory that has to be put into different places. She utilized that money for everything to make that business flourish,” said Gerbick. “She’s in multiple Hallmark stores, she’s selling thousands of purses a year. She’s making a pretty good chunk of revenue.”

A quality Gerbick believes an entrepreneur should have when pursuing an idea, is to be connected to the target market.

“You’ve got to have business insight,” she said. “Getting feedback and changing it to what the market needs. People don’t look into what the market will bear, want or need. They just go into what they think is right. I think that’s one of the biggest downfalls.”

Entrepreneur in Residence Chris Haynes believed students being exposed to the feedback from the competition is crucial for the development of their business.

“An idea isn’t worth anything, you have to be able to execute, perform on that, make it into something,” said Haynes. “ The more people to hear about your idea, the more feedback you’re going to get so you know what to build. You have to be able to accept criticism, that’s how you improve.”

Patricia Battle covers entrepreneurship. Contact her at [email protected].