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November 25, 2015

Michigan college students converge on SVSU to compete for $1,000 prize for new business ideas

Saginaw Valley State University will host its inaugural student elevator pitch competition Tuesday, Dec. 1 from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Curtiss Hall banquet rooms.

Students from multiple universities across the state, including SVSU, Grand Valley State University, the University of Michigan, and Michigan State University have signed up to pitch their new business ideas to a panel of judges in front of a live audience for a chance to win $1,000.  

“We are excited to be hosting an event that is engaging students from such a variety of universities,” said Rama Yelkur, dean of SVSU’s College of Business and Management. “SVSU is always looking for new ways to engage students in experiences that help them develop real-life skills, and this is one of our latest efforts.”

The Dow Entrepreneurship Institute, part of SVSU’s College of Business & Management, is organizing the event, as part of a series of opportunities for students to engage in the business start-up experience.  

Students will have 120 seconds to present their business idea to a panel of judges from the state's entrepreneurial ecosystem.  First place is $1,000 towards the winner's business idea. Prizes are also available for second and third place, as well as an audience choice.  

“As an entrepreneur, one of the biggest challenges you face is how to secure funding to bring your idea to life,” said Tom Sesti, director of the Dow Entrepreneurship Institute at SVSU.

“Entrepreneurs across the globe are regularly engaged in pitch competitions as part of their efforts to raise money.  As part of our mission to stimulate the creation of new business ventures, we felt it was critical to not only offer student entrepreneurs the ability to develop their pitch skills, but to also provide real financial opportunities to fund their ideas as part of that pitch experience.”

Students seeking to register, or anyone who would like to attend the competition should contact Sesti at 989-964-6073 or

The Dow Entrepreneurship Institute at SVSU's College of Business & Management was funded by the Herbert H. & Grace A. Dow Foundation. The institute stimulates creation of new business ventures, serves as a resource for research activities aimed at business innovation, and provides internship opportunities with area businesses for student entrepreneurs.