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Pirate’s Pitch showcases student business ventures

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="266"][/caption] The spring is known to be the catalyst for new beginnings and for the past five years during the spring semester, that has included Seton Hall’s Pirate’s Pitch, an entrepreneurial competition for students who want to further their business ideas and develop existing ventures. Pirate’s Pitch 2016 is the sixth annual SHU Venture Fund Competition that is sponsored by the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies in the Stillman School of Business. “It is an awesome opportunity for our students with entrepreneurial spirit to shine,”Susan Scherreik, founding director of the Stillman School of Business’ Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, said. The Pirate’s Pitch 2016 Finals  will be held on April 8 at 1 p.m. in Jubilee Auditorium and will feature five finalist teams who will pitch their ventures and innovative business ideas before a board of alumni entrepreneurs as judges. They will all compete for $10,000 in prizes and business services. With the application submission deadline approaching in less than a week on Feb. 16, the student turnout at information sessions has been promising, Scherreik said. “Pirates Pitch provides a forum for all our students to be entrepreneurial,” Scherreik added. “Students in the Stillman School of Business can take electives in entrepreneurship but we wanted to broaden awareness of entrepreneurship outside of the business school.” The competition is not only open to Stillman students, but to all full-time undergraduate and graduate students, including those who have never had experience in business. “It is very gratifying to see students’ passion for entrepreneurship. Students are completely in charge of their venture, and it is very thrilling for them to feel so empowered,” Scherreik said. “We are seeing that enthusiasm in our students and I believe 2016 will be our best year ever.” Pravina Raghavan, a senior advisor in the U.S. Department of Commerce and one of the judges in Pirate’s Pitch 2015, said there is a benefit of including the entire student body. “It allows students to get their ideas launched in the real world while benefiting from the intense mentorship and support from Seton Hall,” Raghavan said in a Pirate’s Pitch blog site article. With the financial opportunity to expand an original idea into a business or develop an existing venture, the competition offers guidance and feedback and provides a platform for future innovative ambitions. “Pirates Pitch isn’t just about having a shot to win thousands of dollars. It is also about making great connections and getting exposure for your business,” Scherreik said. Although not every entry is guaranteed first place, Scherreik said that any involvement in the competition, whether to support a fellow classmate or get involved in the competition process, would be of great value. The first place team of winners of Pirate’s Pitch 2015 were Stillman sophomore Ryan Skolnick and senior Selene Presseller, who presented their business idea Aveho Learning, a video game format for students in K-12 to learn Chinese and other foreign languages. The ideas presented by past winners includes a solar-powered mobile phone charger specifically designed for use in developing countries, an online music data search engine, and a web-based business that seeks to make public relations and social media services more accessible to small businesses. Dominique Mcindoe can be reached at


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