BizPitch Competition kicks off with Inspiration session 

Jess Kaplan, News Editor

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The University’s annual BizPitch competition kicked off with BizPitch Inspiration, an interactive prep session led by Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering Erin Jablonski on Oct. 1.

BizPitch gives students the opportunity to launch their own companies, create and market a product or service and pitch it to a panel of judges. Throughout the course of the competition, students are encouraged to connect with faculty mentors and become a member of Startup Lewisburg, a community of small business owners in Lewisburg. The top three companies are awarded funding to build their company.

“We’re looking for students who are passionate about solving a problem in the world, who can convey their ideas in a compelling fashion, and who are looking to connect with entrepreneurship advisers and alumni mentors,” Steven Stumbris, director of the Small Business Development Center and BizPitch, said.

Jablonski’s passion for bringing ideas to life pushed her to develop a management course entitled “Should We Start This Company?” The course teaches students how to embody an entrepreneurial mindset and guides them from concept to business plan to implementation. The prep session, in turn, was a condensed two-hour version of the class. Jablonski was also a judge from last year’s BizPitch Competition and is a small business owner herself.

The session explained how to develop innovative business ideas and strategies, do a feasibility evaluation, identify a customer base and do basic market research. The session was tailored to the BizPitch competition, leading lessons that directly applied to the program.

To enter the BizPitch competition, students must submit a five-minute video that effectively presents their product. Jablonski advised students on how to create successful videos, even if they have limited video experience. She emphasized that the key to an effective video is to clearly display the product.

Jablonski also explained the two types of startups: small enterprises are not concerned with growth, while innovation-driven enterprises seek to expand. However, both variations must be able to commercialize the product. A product is not feasible unless it can be marketed.

“I thought it was very inspiring, it made me wish I could just go home and spend the rest of my night working on developing a business idea. I put a set time in my schedule that I could just brainstorm, get inspired, and of course, meet other entrepreneurial students,” aspiring BizPitch participant Julia Knox ’21 said.

Final applications for BizPitch are due on Oct. 16 and the final “Shark Tank” style pitch will be held on Nov. 5.

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