A spring day outside the Haworth College of Business with flowers in bloom.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Where is the competition being held?

    The competition is being held at the Haworth College of Business. The Haworth College of Business is located in Schneider Hall at 2300 Business Court, Kalamazoo MI 49008-5457.

  • Who can participate?

    Any current undergraduate or graduate Western Michigan University student with an original business idea in the early startup stage. There will also be a high school portion of the competition, where local high school student entrepreneurs with original business ideas in the early startup stages will compete against other high school student entrepreneurs.

  • Is there a cost to participate?

    No, this event is sponsored by the Haworth College of Business and free to participate in. All participants will receive lunch and a gift for attending the competition.

  • Can teams participate?

    Yes, teams can be comprised of up to four participants. All college team participants must be Western Michigan University students. High school teams can also be comprised of up to four participants. We recommend that one student pitch the business idea and the other team members be ready to help answer questions from the judges.

  • What is a business pitch?

    A short, simple description of your business idea that demonstrates how you can solve a problem and offer a valuable solution. It is not a sales pitch.

  • What makes an effective pitch?

    Show passion and excitement in your idea! Know who you are pitching the product or service to. This could include potential customers, investors, lenders and more.  It is a great idea to start with an attention-grabbing hook or opening statement, then you will need to simply describe the problem, solution, product or service description, target market and size, competition and closing statement. Practice, practice and more practice!

  • How long are the pitch presentations? Can competitors use slides or props?

    Each presenter will have only three minutes to pitch the business idea and there will be timekeepers in each room. Slides and props are not allowed but there will be space for your demo, product, and marketing materials in the room.

  • Who are the judges?

    The judges for both the semi-final and final rounds will be a diverse mix of WMU faculty, staff and local community members. Their job is to fairly score the student pitch presentations using a judging rubric. They will take between two to three minutes at the end of the pitch to ask questions.

  • Can I invite guests?

    Guests are welcome for the keynote speaker and final rounds of presentations starting at noon in Room 2000 Schneider Hall.