The winner of the 10th annual Northern Michigan University New Business Venture Competition will be decided on Thursday, March 30. Entrepreneurs behind five products or services will participate in the finale. Events include a trade fair display from 1-2 p.m., an oral presentation of business plans from 2-3 p.m. and 3-3:45 p.m., and a 60-second elevator pitch from 5-5:15 p.m. All are open to the public and will be held in the in the University Center Explorer Rooms.
The 2017 finalists and their proposals are: John Yezbak and Cameron West for “Marquette Airsoft,” airsoft and paintball fun; Ben Phillips for “Ben’s Boards Paddleboard Rentals”; Gisele Duehring for “Yooperade,” maple syrup-sweetened lemonade; Ashley McIntire for “Superior Slides,” an indoor play place for elementary-aged children; and Keefer Edwards for “Keef Company,” which produces baseball caps made in the USA with organic or recycled fabric. Winners will be announced at a reception from 5:45-6:45 p.m.
The NMU College of Business competition encourages entrepreneurial activism among students by recognizing and rewarding those who present detailed plans on designing and creating new business enterprises. It provides a forum for students to present new venture plans to investors, receive meaningful feedback, have the opportunity to start a new business and apply classroom learning to real world projects.
The trade fair activity allows students to create a visually engaging display of prototypes and informational materials for their products or services. The 60-second elevator pitch requires a representative to persuasively describe the business with the goal of securing financial backing. The oral presentations allow 20 minutes for finalists to describe their business plan and 10 minutes for judges’ questions.
Cash prizes and consultation package awards will be given to the top three finalists based on the viability and presentation of their business plans. First-place winners of the best trade fair presentation and the best elevator pitch will receive cash prizes.
The following NMU alumni will serve as judges: Roxanne Daust, executive vice president of Range Bank; Terry Dehring, owner of QuickTrophy LLC; Richard Holmes, founder of Every Market Media; Alexander Kofsky, enterprise facilitator of Accelerate UP; Chad Lewis, owner of Lewis Boat Shop and Ensign Spars; and Gina Thorsen, president of Jacquart Fabric Products.
For more information, contact the NMU College of Business at 227-2900.