Real world opportunities outside the classroom

Kathryn Nicolai, Investigative News Editor


Applications to participate in BizPitch, the University’s annual business pitch competition created and administered by the University’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) will launch Sept. 27. The “Shark Tank”-style student startup competition held in November allows student entrepreneurs to pitch ideas in front of a panel of five alumni judges with the opportunity to win a cash prize of at least $2,500. Cash rewards are also available to second and third place winners. Bonus prizes are awarded to competitors with the best social media presence and the fan favorite of the student audience, decided through an electronic vote during the competition.

Last years winners pitched an app-based version of a lost and found, called Search Party, an idea inspired after Reid Sanchez ’18 lost a pair of sunglasses. Sanchez emphasized that the groups meticulous and detailed nature allowed them to stand out from the competition. “Every question that could’ve been asked was answered weeks before the competition,” said Sanchez.

Sanchez is a mechanical engineering major who benefited from the opportunity to learn a variety of financial and business strategies.

Michael Driesen ’18 credited the SBDC as an extremely useful resource. “We went to the SBDC three of four times. We had a sense of what we wanted to do and the pitch, but we had never done anything like this before. Sitting down with their consultants really help us tune in to what we wanted to say,” said Driesen.

The five member alumni panel serves to “offer their advice and mentoring, but also supports the program” through the cash prizes according to Steve Strumbis, Director of the SBDC.

In addition to serving student entrepreneurship, the SBDC is a resource for Lewisburg downtown small businesses, Siam, Lewisburg Pharmacy, and the new owner the Bull Run for “starting, acquiring or growing their businesses,” Strumbis said.

Students can find more information about the competition on the SBDC’s Instagram and Twitter using #BizPitch17. Applications will be available at

Employer Expo

In other campus business news, the annual Employer Expo, sponsored by the Career Development Center, was held on Sept. 19 in the Gerhard Fieldhouse. The event serves as an opportunity for students to network with employers and learn about potential careers and internships. 105 employers, featuring mostly prospective jobs in engineering and finance, were present to talk with students about their career goals and professional interests. Almost 800 students attended this year.

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