07:23 AM

See Them Here First: Aspiring Entrepreneurs Deliver Quick Pitches

Igniting the entrepreneurial spirit university-wide, a lively annual competition at Cal State San Marcos invites students to produce the most compelling new business ideas and deliver a fast two-minute pitch while vying for prizes worth nearly $10,000.“A strong approach to developing an effective quick pitch is essentially answering the question, ‘how can I engage someone in a conversation that makes the recipient want to continue the conversation?’” said Jim Hamerly, director of Business Community Relations for the College of Business Administration. On Tuesday, April 17, 12 aspiring entrepreneurs will test their skills and their ideas in a fast two-minute business pitch at the third annual Quick Pitch Competition. Sponsored by Enterprise, InterContinental IP, Inventing Profit and Northwestern Mutual Financial Network, the competition will be held in Markstein Hall, room 125, beginning at 7 p.m.A business pitch, or quick pitch, is intended to quickly entice a prospective investor to want to learn more about a service or product idea. Delivering a strong hook that gets the audience to lean forward and listen within the first eight seconds is crucial, said Hamerly.Following the two-minute pitch, a panel of judges comprised of successful entrepreneurs will immediately reveal the student’s scores in two categories – presentation quality and content. Points are then tallied into a cumulative score to determine the top-scoring students. Cash prizes will be awarded for first ($500), second ($250) and third ($100) place. Two high-scoring students will also receive a certificate for a provisional patient or a professional business consultation to launch their invention, each valued at over $4,000.“I’m looking forward to the honest opinion and critique that the judges will provide,” said Roxanne Avant, a junior business student, pitching her concept for a nonprofit organization, which she plans to launch after completing her degree. “It’s a big step to publically attach my name to a concept, but this is exactly the experience I need to move and evolve my idea to the next level.”Avant’s nonprofit – named Alexander’s Leaders – would expose youth to potential career fields through specialized programs and job-shadowing field trips. The organization would focus on reaching students “in the middle” – describing students who are above the poverty line but not considered wealthy, and therefore are often underserved or overlooked in similar programs.A new feature to the competition this year, the audience will have the opportunity to weigh in their opinion and vote for the winner of the Audience Choice Award.Although traditionally associated with business students, the annual event draws participation from other majors as well, including computer science junior Patrick Reynolds. Reynolds will be pitching his idea for MyTechtorials.com, an online collection of user-friendly technology-related tutorials and how-to segments. His database would pull in published web content and filter out irrelevant material. Users can expect to find what they’re looking for without sifting through cumbersome, populated links, he explained.“It’s a common misconception to think that the art of pitching is confined to the business industry,” Reynolds added. “Whether you think of yourself as an entrepreneur or not, pitching is all about effectively communicating your innovative idea.”