Pirate’s Pitch expands student opportunities

Pirate’s Pitch, an entrepreneurial competition sponsored by the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies in the Stillman School of Business, is kicking off its eighth year by including more workshops and prizes for students.

The next information and mentoring session will be held on Feb. 12 at 2 p.m. in Room 528 of Jubilee Hall. Information sessions are held to let students know what is required of them to enter the contest. Experienced mentors will be available to offer confidential feedback.

Pirate’s Pitch gives students the opportunity to create and grow their own businesses.
Photo courtesy of Susan Scherreik

Professor Susan Scherreik, director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and creator and operator of Pirate’s Pitch, explained the process of raising money for the competition. She said that it is a direct result of alumni donations made during the annual Entrepreneur Hall of Fame Induction Dinner.

“These funds are put in an endowment created for funding the contest and the endowment has grown sufficiently to generate $15,000 for the prize money,” she said. “We have the generosity of our alumni entrepreneurs to thank for Pirate’s Pitch.”

Scherreik said that certain changes are being made to the competition due to the $5,000 increase in the total prize money. One such change is that this year’s Pirate’s Pitch will have slots for first, second and third place winners. In the past, first and second place were awarded.

The students will also submit a five-page business plan for their startup as opposed to the previous 10 to 15 page requirement.

Finalists will face a panel of judges, presenting a 10-minute oral argument and their business plans.

Veronica Armour, an instructional designer in the Teaching, Learning and Technology Center (TLTC), said that her involvement with Pirate’s Pitch began last year.

“I invited [Professor] Scherreik to attend a focus group that I was hosting to get feedback from the Seton Hall community about types of workshops that they would be interested in attending in Space154,” Armour said.

When Scherreik said that she would like to have workshops geared toward students involved in Pirate’s Pitch, Armour created two workshops for the competition.

“The goal is to give students the opportunity to learn more about each of the topics and to create with tools that may already be available on their phones or are available as a free download,” Armour said.

Aurora Kochersperger, a freshman double majoring in diplomacy and international relations and entrepreneurship, explained what she hopes to learn from her involvement in Pirates Pitch.

“I think we will learn how to pitch to potential investors or companies we wish to work with,” she said. “So far we have learned how to start a company, file as a corporation and lastly, how to run a company in our respective roles.”

Scherreik said that this year’s collaboration with TLTC will help students be creative while also allowing them to learn about the business world.

“TLTC created and operates Space154, a hands-on collaborative place where students and members of the SHU community can come to discover and learn the latest technologies,” she said. “With access to new and emerging high tech devices and a number of professional design programs, Space 154 offers students a place to be innovative.”

Walla Elshekh, a senior political science major and an economics minor, commented on what he has learned so far in conducting research and designing his business.

“One thing I have learned throughout this process is how detailed you have to be,” he said. “You truly have to understand your target audience, your market and how you’re going to differentiate yourself from what’s already out there.”

Rhania Kamel can be reached at rhania.kamel@student.shu.edu.

Author: Staff Writer

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