Lock Haven University (LHU) business students won first, second, and third place awards in the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Business Pitch Competition Finals held at the Pennsylvania College of Technology, in Williamsport, PA, on November 18, 2015. Using the newest business pitching and planning software, LivePlan, the students created a business idea, documented market research, forecasted financials, and developed an actionable business pitch. From the 42 participants, 10 finalists (either individuals or in pairs) were selected to give a 30-minute presentation of their business idea to a panel of judges that included Halle Niklaus, Vice President of Citizens & Northern Bank, Stephen Brion, President of Light Shield LLC, and Antonio Leta, Director of US Small Business Administration. In addition to the SBDC and LivePlan, event sponsors included First Quality, First Citizens Community Bank, Pennsylvania College of Technology, Covation Center, and Citizens & Northern Bank, providing funding for cash awards given to the top three contenders.
Seth Matter and Olivia Ripka (pictured in the 1st and 2nd pictures above) won the $2,500 first place prize for their business model of Supreme Pet Resort. Both students appreciated this learning opportunity. Olivia remarked that “Entering and competing with this Live Plan business pitch contest has been a wonderful experience. I am beyond honored and thrilled to be awarded with first place with my partner and our pitch of the Supreme Pet Resort. It has truly been an experience that I will never forget and forever be thankful for." Seth was grateful for the guidance and mentoring as he commented that “I would like to thank my partner Olivia Ripka, our professor, Dr. Sakchutchawarn and Tim Keohane from the SBDC. I feel that this was an amazing opportunity for the business students and glad to not only be a part of it, but be a first place winner with our business plan.” In addition to prize money, the first place winners benefitted from receiving mentoring by Palo Alto Software for one year including four free 1-hour live short sessions ($4,000 value), and a free LivePlan account for one year.
“This is a great accomplishment, and I am extremely proud of my students. The Pitch Contest challenged them to step outside conventional-based academic work, take a big new idea, passion, and innovation to create superior business plans that will have an impact on their future career,” said Dr. Sut Sakchutchawarn, assistant professor and instructor in the Entrepreneurship class at LHU.
Among the winners were Emily Embick and Ming Hsuan (picture above) who won the $1,000 second place prize for their FOYO business plan. Nicole Creamer and Lisa Bauer (picture below) won the $500 third place prize for their FUN – Friends.Unique.Natural business plan. In addition to the six winners, the following students participated in the final round of competition: Jacob Field, Shannon Bissnette, Cody Ferrara, Joseph Dicello, Caitlyn Kovach, Blake Walker, Andrew Marshall, Austin Scitti, Sean Ott, and Cassidy Novotny.
"Preparing for events like this competition engages all of our business students in learning more about taking a business idea from conceptualization to commercialization using cutting-edge technologies in the field,” remarked Dr. Cori Myers, LHU’s department chair for business and computer science. “Pitching ideas to the distinguished panel of professionals gives students valuable experience that sharpens communication skills, develops critical thinking skills when responding to pointed questions, and deepens their understanding of how to succeed in business. This competition, in addition to many other learning experiences, represents why LHU’s business program offers More Than a Degree. It offers real-world experience."