Students pitch judges for cash

UVMs first ever business pitch competition was held Oct. 6 in the Davis Center by the School of Business Administration and awarded $3,000 to fund a student project.

The competition allowed four entrepreneur groups on campus to showcase their plans for creating a business or product to a panel of judges.

Senior Max Ebenstein won the competition with his pitch for Doorack, a small and innovative rack for skis and snowboards that can be put onto the back of a door of a car without taking up much space or causing damage to the door.

Anybody who skis or rides could use this technology, Ebenstein said. It can be easily utilized by college students.

The rack is the first of its kind designed for both snowboards and skis, he said.

The audience gave Ebenstein loud applause after he was able to answer the judges questions with ease by using data to back up his points.

Presenting in front of the judges wasnt too bad, he said. I know my market.

Ebenstein began the project during his sophomore year, and the entrepreneur class helped him write his business plan.

Ebenstein received the prize to fund his project, along with free entry to compete in a national $1 million entrepreneurship competition called the MassChallenge.

[With the money] I plan to work on patents and with lawyers to protect my ideas, he said.

The MassChallenge is a national, $1 million, nonprofit entrepreneurship competition, said Scott Bailey, director of partnership of MassChallenge.

Scott Bailey, a UVM alumnus and one of the founders of the UVM entrepreneur club, was at the event.

Ive been an enthusiastic supporter of students and the program all did a great job [today], Bailey said. This is getting students excited about what it takes to run a company.

The competition got students involved, said Sanjay Sharma, dean of the business school.

Originally, 20 proposals went through online and judging for preliminaries were done in April, he said. I think it is a fantastic start. It was organized and students did a great job.

Other presentations in the competition were Community Roots by Dave Manago (second place), Ka-Pow by Abigail Beck (third place) and Cloud 9 by Graham Phelps and Asher Thompson (fourth place).

I was very pleased [with the competition], said Rocki-Lee Dewitt, professor in the school of business. The students responded well to the judges.

Dewitt has been involved with the entrepreneurship club from its start and said she sees this competition as great progress for the entrepreneurship club.

Judges for the competition were Bill Stenger, co-owner of Jay Peak, Lisa Groenveld, COO and co-owner of Logic Supply and David Aronoff, general partner at Flybridge Capital Partners.

Senior Tommy Barkovic, an officer of the entrepreneurship club, said that the competition went well. Pitches were great, he said. They brought some really new ideas.