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Students urged to show entrepreneur skills

By Kimberly Bolognini
On November 10, 2010

The Center for Entrepreneurial Studies in the Stillman School of Business is sponsoring a competition called Pirate's Pitch, which will allow students to hone their entrepreneurial skills.

Seton Hall's first annual Pirate's Pitch Day will be held in Jubilee Hall on May 1, 2011 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

"The competition is designed to encourage students to be entrepreneurial and come up with great ideas for businesses," Susan Scherreik, founding director of Entrepreneurial Studies, said. "It is a creative and fun endeavor that we hope will actually lead some students to start their own businesses."

Student teams can range from one to five members, according to Scherreik. At least one member of each team must be enrolled at Seton Hall.

The winning team will receive $3,500 and business services such as legal and marketing assistance to help launch or grow its business.  The runner-up team will receive $1,500 and business services. The most popular idea will be considered the audience choice and will win a prize of $500.

"We have created endowments that will fund the prizes for the Pirate's Pitch contest every year," Scherreik said. "We have also created scholarships for students studying entrepreneurship."

"You don't have to be a business major to want to start a business," Scherreik said. "The great thing about entrepreneurship is that it cuts across all disciplines. To help students outside of the business school, we will hold a series of informational workshops so they will know exactly what they need to do to participate in the contest.  We want this to be fun and creative and we will help students with any business-related skills required."

Scherreik said students can also enter if they already have their own business as long as the total amount of outside funding is less than $50,000. 

Students who are interested need to complete an application explaining their potential business plan and e-mail, mail or hand deliver it to Scherreik by Jan. 25, 2011.  

According to Scherreik, the second round of the competition consists of the five best ideas which will be selected by a panel of judges. After that, the teams are asked to create a 10-15 page business plan.  Each group will be assigned a mentor who is an experienced entrepreneur that will help guide the way.  Business plans will be due on Thursday, April 21, 2010. 

On Pirate Pitch Day, the five teams will pitch their ideas to the audience and a panel of judges giving a 10 minute oral presentation, according to Scherreik.

The judges will then have an additional 10 minutes to ask questions of each team.  The public is invited to the event.  

"The judges will be successful entrepreneurs, including alumni, venture capitalists (who are involved in lending money to real entrepreneurs) and others involved in the entrepreneur community, such as lawyers and bankers," Scherreik said.

Scherreik hopes that Pirate's Pitch will show students ways to survive and support a business in the current economic environment.

"In today's tough economic environment, all students have to ‘think outside of the box,' and this competition is a great chance to do so," Scherreik said.

Kimberly Bolognini can be reached at kimberly.bolognini@student.shu.edu.


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