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Twenty-eight Canisius students participated in a 90-second business idea pitch competition for a $2,000 cash prize on Thursday, October 18, 2018. This event was organized by the Entrepreneurship major program, Canisius Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO) and the Canisius Innovation Lab.

In an elevator pitch competition, teams of students have an opportunity to pitch their business ideas to a panel of entrepreneurs and investors who serve as judges. Business ideas may be at any stage of development, from the initial concepts or ideas to an established business. Students have the chance to win cash prizes and the winning teams are recognized at an awards banquet on campus following the competition. The Canisius 1st place winning team will compete against 150 teams and 1,600 students at the Global Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization Conference and Competition from Thursday, November 1 – Sunday, November 4 in Kansas City, MO.

This year’s Canisius College winners are:

1st place – Jonathan Wess ’21, entrepreneurship and political science dual major, “Time Capsule” pitch idea. He now advances to the Global Elevator Pitch Competition.

2nd place- Natalia Guin ’19, management major, “Life is Sweet Bakery” pitch idea

3rd place – Anna Sweny ’20, political science major, “ZZ” pitch idea

The following four professionals served as judges and provided valuable feedback to the students:

Kim Marin, manager, Independent Health, Employee, Team and Leadership Development

Kevin Kelleher, former vice president of marketing, AdPro Sports; current head of school, St. Mary’s High School in Lancaster

Lisa Ciezki, certified insurance and financial advisor, Wells Fargo

Eliza Friedman, lawyer, Lippes, Mathias, Wexler, Friedman LLP

Ji-Hee Kim, PhD, associate professor, Management Department; director, Entrepreneurship

This competition is critical for developing students’ entrepreneurial attitude and creativity. The competition also fosters an entrepreneurial ecosystem that Western New York seeks to build with its 43North competition and numerous entrepreneurial events, competitions and technology incubators. At the event, Dr. Kim addressed those in attendance. “I’m very proud of all our students who competed, as this provided an amazing opportunity for them to pitch their entrepreneurial ventures and gain valuable insight from those directly involved with the venture capital and entrepreneurial business sectors.”

Submitted by: Ji-Hee Kim, associate professor and director, Entrepreneurship/Management