Shown, front row from left, are students Abigail Shirer, Ashlyn Spencer and Avery Eddy. Back row, from left, are Dr. John Nauright, dean; students Shannon Stegmann, Mae McGrath and Joe Zgleszewski and Dr. Gerard Martorell.
Lock Haven University business students recently participated in the Student Pitch Competition finals held on Dec. 6 at the Durrwachter Alumni Conference Center on the campus of LHU.
The event, sponsored by Stephen Poorman, was held in partnership with The Stephen Poorman College of Business, Information Systems and Human Services and the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at LHU.
Students from the entrepreneurship course at LHU, directed by Dr. Gerard Martorell, worked on various venture projects. This year, among the different projects, one was related to Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club, “Wolves,” in the Premier League in England, and another on the Puy du Fou theme park in France.
The Wolves were invited to view the presentations via Zoom. Russell Jones, Wolves’ head of marketing, and Joe Hunt, Wolves’ international project manager, attended the meeting and asked several questions to the groups. A serious discussion about the business models on how the sports academies work on each side of the Atlantic ensued for several minutes between the Wolves managers and the group members.
Puy du Fou guests Guillaume Ingrand, legal manager, and Chloe Rangeard-Piton, assistant legal manager, also were invited to view the presentations during their visit to LHU for another event on campus. In this case, the related student project addressed the problem of investing into a restaurant that only is open when the park is open.
The students proposed an innovative idea of having a restaurant with two accesses: one from inside the park and another from outside the park, allowing the restaurant to serve the surrounding community during the winter season, when the park closed. The Puy du Fou representatives showed interest in knowing more about the feasibility of the project.
“This annual event continues to serve as a great opportunity for LHU students to pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges who are regarded as experts in their fields,” said Tim Keohane, director of the Small Business Development Center at LHU. “The SBDC is appreciative of the generosity of the event sponsors and the commitment by the judges in offering their time and expertise in selecting this year’s award winners, and providing highly valuable feedback to all of the competitors as they pitch their entrepreneurial concepts.”
At the finalist competition, teams of LHU students were given 15 minutes to “pitch” their original business idea in front of a panel of judges that included: Rick Kuczawa, Woodlands Bank; Stephen Poorman; Albert Jones, First Quality; and Solomon Wheeler, U.S. Small Business Administration.
After long discussions, the judges gave two first prizes that each received $1,000. The two winners were a spray foam weed preventer by Avery Eddy and Joe Zgleszewski and 24-diner-restaurant in Lock Haven by Mae McGrath, Ashlyn Spencer and Abigail Shirer. Third place was Laundry Hub on Wheels by Shannon Stegmann and Scott Baran, who received $500.
“Having our students engage in projects that were both locally focused and linked with our international partners, Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club and Puy du Fou Theme Park, was amazing to witness,” said Dr. John Nauright, dean of The Stephen Poorman College of Business Information Systems and Human Services. “These opportunities are setting Lock Haven University apart from our competitors.”
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Lock Haven University’s main campus is located on the West Branch of the Susquehanna River in the scenic mountains of Pennsylvania. The university offers 49 undergraduate majors and certifications with 47 minors and five graduate programs.
LHU is a member of Pennsylvania’s State System, the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth. Its 14 universities offer more than 2,300 degree and certificate programs in more than 530 academic areas of study. Nearly 520,000 system alumni live and work in Pennsylvania.
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