Students get chance to use business skills, win money

Melissa Weigel

The Villanova Entrepreneurial Society (VES) has created a competition to encourage this entrepreneurial spirit within the University community, among students of all majors.

The VES is sponsoring the first annual StartUp Challenge, in which students can win over $5,000 in prizes, with a grand prize of $2,000.

Today, all teams will be given an idea (a product or service) to be marketed. Then the teams must create marketing, financial and operational plans, which are to be submitted to the judges by midnight on Thursday.

Industry professionals and faculty members will judge the plans all day Friday.

“The competition is different than any we’ve seen since we began to research last fall,” Adam Siegrist, VES president, said. All other schools tend to have a very technical competition for business students only, whereas our competition is for all undergrads, regardless of major.”

Finalists present their final plans on Saturday, so they must prepare a 20 minute presentation between Friday night (when they are notified) and Saturday afternoon (when they present), simulating the pressure that is often felt in the business world.

One team member from each of the teams that are not chosen to compete in the final round is selected at random to compete in the “Elevator Competition.” In this portion of the Challenge, the student will meet with a judge for five minutes to further pitch his team’s idea. This is supposed to replicate a chance encounter with an executive in an elevator.

The other team members, judges and audience members may watch the meeting via live feed on a television in an adjacent room. One team will be given a wild card entry into the final round based on its performance in the Elevator Competition.

The winner receives a grand prize of $2,000, and second place comes with a prize of $1,000. Furthermore, prizes of $500 are awarded to the best marketing, financial and operational plans. The president of the Entrepreneurial Society (a student) awards the President’s Prize ($500) to “the team that best implements the creative entrepreneurial spirit in their endeavors,” according to the StartUp Challenge website.

Teams must be comprised of three to five members, and at least three of the members must be from different colleges within the University (Liberal Arts and Sciences, Commerce and Finance, Engineering, Nursing and Continuing Studies).