The 38 participants were members of the 15 groups that had been chosen from the 95 entries in the competition to move on to the second round. Their elevator pitch was extended to five minutes, followed by five minutes of Q&A by five judges.
One group of three entrepreneurship majors presented an idea brainstormed in Kettering Labs – small-scale wind turbines. “The Q&A was the scariest part, not knowing what you’re going to be asked,” Matt Antenucci ’13 said. His teammates agreed.
Ben Oren ’12, who presented on the restaurant opportunity Sabi Sushi, had the opposite opinion. The presentation had him nervous that he would forget to say something important; he felt more comfortable answering questions on the fly. His third time participating in the competition, this was the first time Oren made it past the first round. “Try, try again,” he said. “I was pumped I finally made it senior year.”
Each of the 15 teams presenting in the cameo round earned $1,000. Five teams were chosen to move on to the final round of the competition, pocketing a guaranteed $5,000, a prize that tops out at $25,000 to the first place winner. They have until March to perfect what will then be a 20-minute presentation followed by Q&A.
The competition isn’t all about the money, though. “Being an entrepreneurship major, I have a lot of ideas,” Oren said. “The business plan competition is a fun way to see how I stack up.”