Business Concepts Competition open to all Kent State students

Lyndsey Sager

The Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation is hosting its annual Business Concepts Competition, “Taking the Idea to the Real.”

The competition is open to undergraduate, graduate and Ph.D. students of all majors and concentrations. Submissions are due Feb. 20, and should be submitted to [email protected].

Craig Zamary, an entrepreneur-in-residence who is in charge of the competition, said a majority of applications usually come from the College of Business, but he is hoping to diversify the competition more this year.

“It’s really an opportunity for anyone who has an idea to really get it out and get it on paper,” Zamary said. “It doesn’t matter what their major is. It’s their business idea.”

Zamary said there are no limitations on what can be submitted.

“My recommendation for students is to have fun, think big and if you have an idea, don’t sit on it,” Zamary said. “Go do something about it and this is the first entry point to that.”

Brandon Ritchey, freshman business management major, said he plans to enter the competition with a classmate and friend, Kris Kramer, who is an entrepreneurship major.

“This is my first business competition,” Ritchey said. “It’s kind of an interesting concept and I’m interested to see how it goes.”

Ritchey said he decided to submit an idea with Kramer because he needed different people with different backgrounds to build a good team.

“I believe in any situation you need a team to help you,” Ritchey said. “It’s great to think you can do something by yourself, but in a lot of ways that’s not practical.”

Ritchey said he and Kramer plan to use the competition as a way to gauge the viability of their business.

“There’s a very high possibility that the concept I’m presenting will actually become a business,” Ritchey said. “If the idea is well-liked or I win, there’s a high chance I will actually try to start the business.”

An information meeting and workshop was held Feb. 14, but Zamary said students who missed the info session can find the same information on the program’s website,

The website includes a full list of what should be included in a student’s business plan and has tips for writing a submission.

Business plans should be no more than three pages long, but can include diagrams, info graphics or anything else that will help a student explain their idea. Final submissions will only be accepted as Word or PDF files.

The evaluation sheet used to judge concepts is also available online. Zamary said students should look at this sheet to make sure they are putting the right things in their business plan.

Winners will be notified by email and posted on CEBI’s website March 6. The top three submissions will win cash prizes ranging from $500 to $1,500.

Additionally, the top five undergraduate submissions will move on to the Entrepreneurship Education Consortium competition, ideaLabs, and compete against students from other Northeast Ohio universities to win prizes of up to $5,000.

Zamary said even students who do not place in the competition will gain valuable experience and will have the chance to work with an Entrepreneur-in-Residence to strengthen their business idea.

“No matter if they take first or third place or they’re not a finalist, I really want people to know is that this resource is here,” Zamary said. “The Center for Entrepreneurship and the residents are here to help them with their ideas and get their businesses launched.”

Contact Lyndsey Sager at [email protected].