Business challenge gives UA students chance to win prize package

By: Katelyn Mertz

On Tuesday, The University of Akron’s College of Business Administration, along with the Office of Inclusion and Equity, played host to the Cleveland-based LRMR Innovative Marketing and Branding for the much-anticipated Akron Creating (330) CEO’s Entrepreneurship Summit 2011.

At this event, over a dozen businessmen and women – which included UA students as well as community members – were asked to participate and give the ultimate new business pitch in exchange for a grand-prize of $10,000 in start-up funding and eight weeks of mentoring by the organization 100 Urban Entrepreneurs.

A national nonprofit organization, 100 Urban Entrepreneurs is funded by a number of celebrities with a shared goal to finance and mentor 100 entrepreneurs from economically disadvantaged communities, highlighting the urban population’s untapped business potential.

“Just imagine yourself in an elevator with a wealthy individual who could fund the start-up of your business,” University of Akron Instructor of Finance Stephen Washington said.

It sounded almost too good to be true.

In true game show fashion, the aspiring entrepreneurs are given a mere 60-second window to impress a panel of scrupulous business experts. These were the intense stipulations by which the candidates were forced to abide.

Washington admits that, however challenging, an opportunity of this nature doesn’t come by very often.

“At a time like this in our economy, when employment is so difficult, I think that entrepreneurship is going to be critical,” Washington said.

The 60-second Business Pitch Challenge was not the only event at the Summit, however. The morning was made up of workshops entitled How to Deliver a Winning Pitch, as well as Creating a Business for Under $1,000, where individuals told stories of their own entrepreneurial experiences.

After an Entrepreneurship Networking Luncheon featuring the co-founder of 100 Mile Group, Jesse Itzler, the afternoon then offered a panel discussion of the principals of LRMR, including Maverick Carter, and concluded with a networking reception. The 100 Mile Group is a brand incubator and marketing firm.

More information is available at www.330ceos.com or from Stephen Washington at University extension 7015, or sw43@uakron.edu.