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3rd Place Winnter Katelyn Schlosser receives her check
Photo by Patrick Traylor

Center for Entrepreneurship Hosts 2nd Annual Idea  Pitch Competition

Julie Bethlenfalvy
May 12, 2012

The Center for Entrepreneurship at Ohio University hosted its 2nd annual Idea Pitch Competition during the Student Research Expo at the Convocation Center on Thursday, May 3. Nine enthusiastic student teams pitched their pioneering plans to the judges. The panel, which included Niklos Salontay of last year's 1st prize team Flare Code, narrowed down the impressive pitches to three teams that took home cash prizes. Student innovators Chad Stroud, Richard Rodman and Supradeep Kumar presented FlashCrop,a mobile application picture cropping feature to create flashcards, which took home the $500 1st prize.The successful FlashCrop team also won Athens Start-up Weekend.Scott Nykl and Chad Mourning, Affine Technologies, won 2nd place and $200 with their Real-Time Avionics Visualizer. Katelyn Schlosser proposed SNAPSHOT, which won 3rd place and $100.

The Center for Entrepreneurship's successful competition brought students together to present business ideas to an expert panel. The competition also bolstered students' confidence to innovate, educate and enjoy the process, which are key components of the Voinovich School's approach to applied learning at the Centre for Entrepreneurship. "The event provides opportunities for students from different colleges to work in teams and to articulate the relevance of their innovations to society," said Lynn Gellermann, the executive director of the Center for Entrepreneurship.

The main motivation of the Center for Entrepreneurship's Idea Pitch Competition is to promote and celebrate an entrepreneurial culture among students, said Director John Glazer of TechGROWTH Ohio. "The opportunity is to share innovative, creative thinking in a way that envisions an enterprise that one can actually act on and make real," said Glazer. As a Pitch Competition judge, Glazer asked questions to help students professionally articulate their ideas and further shape the ideas into real business enterprises.

Participating in the event also gave students the opportunity to work together, develop leadership skills and glean expert advice to strengthen their business plans. Glazer, who is TechGROWTH's board representative to Flare Code, also hoped that students were encouraged by the process. "I admire and appreciate what it takes to get up in front of a panel of judges and put your best idea out there," he said.

The competition provided the students with the fundamental steps to pitch a business plan and support its validity. "Whether you're in the business world or non-profit world, when you bring up a new product or service idea to your colleagues and supervisors, you are going to have to substantiate why your idea is going to work," said Bethany George, competition judge and executive in residence at the Innovation Center and TechGROWTH Ohio. "This pitch competition and the trainings offered to prepare for the pitch competition were to help the students understand how to communicate that idea in a short amount of time," George added.

The Pitch Competition allowed students to integrate their pitches with their future career paths. Schlosser incorporated her bachelor's in commercial photography and her experience as a first year master's student in Child and Family studies to create SNAPSHOT. SNAPSHOT uses photography to embolden pediatric patients to be creative and expressive. The Center for Entrepreneurship's Pitch Competition also bolstered students' confidence to be innovative and to have fun. Schlosser agreed, "It was empowering to see the optimism and support shown to me, and the possibility that my project could become a reality."