LHU students take top honors at Business Pitch Competition

LOCK HAVEN — Lock Haven University business students won first, second, third place, and honorable mention awards in the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Business Pitch Competition Finals held at the Pennsylvania College of Technology, in Williamsport on Nov. 18.

Students used the LivePlan business pitching and planning software to create a business idea, document market research, forecast financials, and develop an actionable business pitch.

At the finalist competition, eight student teams were given 15 minutes to “pitch” their original business idea to a panel of prestigious judges. The panel of judges included Jean Galliano, Senior Vice President of Fulton Bank; Michael Kane, Deputy District Director with the U.S. Small Business Administration, and Carolyn Shirk of Economics Pennsylvania.

In addition to the SBDC and LivePlan, event sponsors included Covation Center, First Citizens Community Bank, First Quality, Fulton Bank, Lock Haven University Foundation, and Pennsylvania College of Technology, providing funding for cash awards given to the top three contenders.

Director of the Small Business Development Center, Tim Keohane, shared, “We are very pleased with the results of our second annual competition in 2016 and looking forward to continuing the event in future years. The SBDC Student Pitch Competition is open to all students in all majors at LHU and PCT. Our 2015 first place winners were a pair of Business Management majors, and this year’s winner is a Recreation Management major. Our goal is to continue to expand the competition to more students on each campus, as well as attracting a greater variety of students in many of the disciplines that comprise the academic programs at both institutions. The small business owners and entrepreneurs we provide services to each year come to us with a wide variety of educational backgrounds and areas of expertise.

“Just as is the case with the clients we serve, any student in any major at either campus can pitch a creative idea in our competition and be successful. We highly encourage more students in all curricular areas to consider entering our competition next year – we want our competitors and finalists to be as diverse and well-rounded as possible each year of the event.”

Noelle Hostelley won the $2,500 first place prize for her presentation on the Tyler Welch Cinema business model which features video cinematography services for business and individual applications.  Noelle was delighted to have placed first in the competition.

“Entering this competition was not something I planned on doing, and winning was not even a thought. The fact that I did it and won is something that I will forever be thankful for,” she said. She was appreciative of the guidance and support she received from the SBDC and thanked everyone who came together to make a great and educational experience.

“The Pitch competition provided the nine finalist teams, 46 students  altogether, a great opportunity to pitch their business ideas to a live panel of judges with a chance to win funding for their business.  It was very inspiring to hear the forward-thinking and novel business ideas the teams put forth this  year. They should be commended for their originality, and for the passion and creativity they invested in creating their vision” said Dr. Marcia Kurzynski, assistant professor and instructor in the Entrepreneurship class at LHU.

Among the winners were Frank Librizzi, Nick Narducci, Hannah Zondlo and Jorge Martinez who won the $1,000 second place prize for their i-Repair business plan. Hannah Rock, Rayne Forshey, Ashley Shaffer and Kaylee Frankhouser won the $500 third place prize for their The Pawza Hotel business plan. Meredith Brown won Honorable Mention for business idea, Eagle Ride.

In addition to these winning Pitch Competition teams, the following students participated in the final round of competition: Adam Parks, Dalvin Williams, Terrence White, Zach Moeller, Joe Ruzek, Nathan Cheek, Brendan Morrison, Judith Wright, Elizabeth Barney, Tanner Blazina, Matthew Donovan, Lia Hamm, Mitchell Coakley, Martin Gnegel, Jenna Corbett, and Clearfield Campus students, Bryanna Casher, Roberta McGary, Rachel Wisor and Adam Wygonik.

“These kinds of learning opportunities provide valuable experiences for students to hone the communication, creative thinking, and analytical skills necessary for success in business. We highly encourage participation from business majors as well as students from other majors who may want to own a business as a means of making their idea more concrete and gaining insights about them from a distinguished panel of professionals,” explains Dr. Cori Myers, LHU’s department chair for business and computer science. “Next fall, we hope to launch an entrepreneurship minor that will allow students from other disciplines across campus to develop the skills they need to take their passion in science, the Arts, recreation, or elsewhere, and make it a viable business.”

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