Perfecting Their Pitch

Participants of the Turner School's Brave Pitch pose after the competition, which has students pitching their innovative business ideas in three minutes or less.

April 12, 2013

By Frank Radosevich II

Twelve Bradley students stepped up to the plate and pitched their innovative business ideas Wednesday at the University’s second Brave Pitch competition, where entrepreneurial students have three minutes to impress a panel of judges with their new business, product or service.

The contest, sponsored by the Turner School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, has students developing new startups or breakthrough products while receiving constructive feedback and professional experience. To win, the entrepreneurs must persuade the judges that their idea can and should be turned into a reality.

“It’s a time for students to showcase their talents and it’s great exposure to the world of entrepreneurship,” said Ryan Miller, a junior mechanical engineering major and president of Bradley’s Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization. “It’s a resume builder and networking opportunity that can really benefit students.”

Miller said the event can be intimidating but incredibly effective at refining and strengthening new ideas. The ideas don’t have to be fully formed, he said, just enticing to prospective investors and artfully delivered.

Competitors are given three minutes to outline a problem or market opportunity and propose their business solution along with the plan’s impact and feasibility. Participants are also judged on their presentation style.

This semester’s event saw six graduate and six undergraduate students vying for cash prizes awarded to the top three finishers in both the graduate and undergraduate competitions.

For the graduate students, the winners were Ellen Keenan, first place, for an ice cooler that serves as a chair; Richard Weers, second, for low-limit credit cards; and John Seeli, third, for a more efficient heat exchanger. For the undergraduate students, the winners were Ivan Gonzalez-Gimenez, first, for an Indian marble import business; Jacob Vizcarra, second, for a music publishing business; and Aaron Griffin, third, for a cellphone case with solar panels.

Ken Klotz, managing director for the Turner School, said the competition is open to all Bradley students, and this year’s Brave Pitch saw several students from the Caterpillar College of Engineering and Technology and the Slane College of Communications and Fine Arts.

He said that being concise and confident is often the hardest part for most students. “It’s hard to put everything in their heads into a three-minute pitch. Brave Pitch obliges students to organize, condense and revise their business plans until they are perfect,” he said.

Klotz added that the Turner School aims to host a Brave Pitch event each semester to better support entrepreneurial talent at Bradley.