David Winner (center) awarded for Divvi, a social messaging application, is congratulated by Professor Susan Scherreik and Stillman Dean Joyce Strawser.
Seton Hall University's annual Pirates Pitch competition, sponsored by the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies in the Stillman School of Business, is encouraging student entrepreneurs to compete with their business ideas for the eighth year in a row.
Pirates Pitch is open to Seton Hall students - undergraduate and graduate - who have a particular interest in marketing their original and innovative business ideas to a panel of professional judges. Students can choose to participate individually or with a team of up to five students. The first-place idea will be awarded $7,000 as well as access to essential business services such as legal to marketing expertise. These will be used as vital resources to further nurture the start-ups.
This annual competition (think ABC's "Shark Tank") provides a platform for aspiring entrepreneurs to develop their ideas into a real business and offers students across campus the opportunity to present and network with successful entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. All students are encouraged to participate in the event.
Students must apply by Thursday, February 15, at midnight. The Center for Entrepreneurial Studies is prepared and eager to assist students in developing their ideas and has planned informational and mentoring sessions to offer valuable insight on creating a successful pitch. Remaining sessions will be held in the Entrepreneurship Center, Room 528, of Jubilee Hall on the following dates:
- Thursday, January 25, at 4 p.m.
- Tuesday, February 6, at 7 p.m.
- Monday, February 12, at 2 p.m.
Pirates Pitch contenders have seen great amounts of success in the past years. Winners utilize the prize money and professional services to reinvest in their own ideas and tackle the business world with their ingenuity.
Stillman Junior Ryan Skolnick, who won Pirates Pitch in 2015, was also a winner of UPitchNJ 2016, a new collegiate business model competition involving 12 universities in New Jersey, with his pitch for his business AVEHO. Another winner, Taseen Peterson '14, was the national winner in the Student Startup Madness competition and his venture, Notefuly, was named by Inc. magazine as one of the nation's coolest college startups.
2016 Pirate Pitch winner Christian Zeron (center) of Theo & Harris with Professor Susan Scherreik and Stillman Dean Joyce Strawser.
Seton Hall alumnus Christian Zeron '16, won the 2016 Pirates Pitch competition with his business idea for Theo & Harris.
"Entrepreneurship is filled with delusion, built on the unwillingness of others to be critical and honest," said Zeron. "Pirates Pitch was, as I saw it, the first time many entrepreneurs were challenged on their ideas. It was the first time a third party with no interest in placating, asked substantial questions and refused soft answers. It's an incredibly important program."
Susan Scherreik, founding director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, is excited at the prospect of what this year's competition could hold.
"Student interest in entrepreneurship is exploding, thanks in part to popular shows like Shark Tank. And now that the prize structure was changed to offer more opportunities to win an award, we expect SHU students to flock to Pirates Pitch 2018. It is a fun and rewarding experience and we are extremely excited to see what business ideas our students dream up. Our role is to help SHU students make their dreams a reality," said Scherreik.
Professor Scherreik hopes to foster entrepreneurial spirit within the Seton Hall community. All of campus is encouraged to join the event and present their ideas for the chance to win. The final round of the competition is scheduled to take place, Friday, April 6.
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