School of Business annual pitch competition offers $25,000 in cash prizes


Courtesy of Washburn School of Business

Pitch it real good: The School of Business’s annual pitch competition is in full swing. Students come together to pitch business startup ideas for a chance to win $25,000

The School of Business Pitch Competition returns to Washburn University yet again, allowing Washburn students to showcase their bright ideas for a new business.

The competition encourages students, individually or in teams of up to three people, to pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges in hopes of winning a cash prize.

“I am expecting to see some of the brightest and most innovative young professionals in the area share some well-thought-out plans to advance the world forward,” said Sawab Hazim, a first-time judge.

Contestants will advance through a total of three rounds.

Knockout Round – Tuesday, Oct. 5 at 1 p.m.
Semi-Finals Round – Tuesday, Oct. 5 at 3 p.m.
Finals Round – Tuesday, Oct. 19 at 6:30 p.m.

For the knockout round, students were given a maximum time limit of three minutes to pitch to a panel of judges. Throughout this round the use of technology is prohibited. There were four different rooms, each room with its own panel of judges. The top three pitches from each room qualified for the next round: The semi-finals.

Abigail McCory, a senior business major, had prior experience in the pitch competition which assisted her in this year’s competition.

“Having participated in the pitch competition before, I think I will have a better idea of what the judges are looking for. I have grown in my ability to portray, develop and pitch an idea. I hope that my prior experience will help me have a successful pitch this year,” McCory said.

During the semi-finals, the advanced contestants were given a maximum of three minutes to further voice their ideas to the judges. Once again, the use of technology was prohibited in this round. The top five pitches advanced to the finals round.

Below is a list of finalists and their pitch, as well as the semifinalists:

2021 Finalists (in alphabetical order):
1) Cameron Cogswell, Jamison Phelps, Nic Weippert:
Ndorse: Seeks to connect student athletes all across the United States with businesses to make student athletes money.
2) Jared Kerr:
Quality mobile detailing at an affordable price.
3) Andrew Foreman:
Story Tune: A podcast app that uses algorithms and data mining to supply users with a personalized feed of podcasts tuned to what they love.
4) Abigail McCrory:
Top City Pet Pals: All encompassing pet sitting business focused on providing high quality care to those you love most, your pets.
5) Peyton Price:
Call Guard: A connective device that uses sleeve and snap technology to attach to headsets and protect against airborne diseases.

2021 Semi Finalists (in alphabetical order):
1) Zion Bowlin, Britt Brown & Mitchell Lady
2) Stacy Briggs
3) Nancy Gaetan
4) Dylan Gatewood & Ben Kneister
5) Connor Hathaway & Harlan Watson
6) Christian Paez
7) Isabel Ryan

“In addition to the uniqueness and viability of the business idea, we look to see that the contestants have put in the time, effort and research into their idea and presentation,” said Kathleen Hein, a returning judge who has been a part of the pitch competition since the beginning.

The contestants who have advanced to the finals round are expected to expand on their pitches by including more detail, however, they will only be given a maximum of seven minutes this round. Technology is permitted during this round, and a PowerPoint presentation is expected.

Below is a breakdown of the awards for each position:

Place Cash Prize
1st $8,000
2nd $6,000
3rd $4,000
4th $2,000
5th $1,000
Total: $21,000

Best Freshman Entry: $1,000
Best WIT Entry: $2,500
Losing Semi Finalists: $100/each

Grand Total: $25,200

“In the past, winning pitches have included a dental floss tool, edible bugs and a coffee truck. That’s what I love about the competition; the students are so creative! I can’t wait to see what new ideas this year’s competition brings,” Hein said.
THe final round takes place, Tuesday, Oct. 19 from 6:30-9 p.m. in the Bradbury Thompson Alumni Center. Attendance is by invitation only, but the school of business is in the works of setting up a live stream.
Edited by Leah Jamison and Ellie Walker