KALAMAZOO—A Western Michigan University student was awarded the top prize of $1,500 at a competition for innovative business ideas by providing a more efficient way to work with two-wheeled carts.
Rosie Hall, an MBA student from Kalamazoo, captured first place after presenting a three-minute pitch on Dolly Xtractor, a business she and her husband, Jeff, started. The stainless steel tool attaches to a shoe, allowing for a simple hook and pull of a dolly axle to easily release the platform underneath a stack of product.
"I was very impressed with all of the competitors at Pitch,” Hall says. "It was such a great experience listening to all of the ideas. And thank you to Educational Community Credit Union and Great Lakes Contract Group for this opportunity and allowing us to share our ideas and gain valuable feedback on our businesses."
Second place and a prize of $1,000 was awarded to a team of MBA students comprised of Elizabeth Mooney of Kalamazoo; Andrew Eaton of Albuquerque, N.M.; and Gabriella Vezzosi of Livonia, Mich. That team presented Savvy Dress Rentals, an upscale consignment boutique specializing in new and gently used fashion.
The $750 third place prize as well as the People’s Choice award went to Jonathan Rhodes, industrial and entrepreneurial engineering major from Farmington Hills, Mich., who pitched his business idea GoAnywhere Sleeper, an affordable and secure way for off-road enthusiasts to comfortably sleep within a Jeep Wrangler.
About the competition
Students from across campus were invited to present their innovative business ideas. The second annual competition was organized by the Department of Management in the Haworth College of Business and sponsored by Educational Community Credit Union and Great Lakes Contract Group.
The competition drew 32 pitch teams, and students were judged in progressive rounds by faculty and business community members, including many local business owners. The field was narrowed to eight teams for the final round of competition.
"The ideas that were pitched at this year’s competition showed how seriously WMU students take entrepreneurship," says Dr. Robert Landeros, interim director for the Haworth College of Business Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. "It was incredible to have judges from the local business community come together to give our students invaluable feedback."