Central Michigan University (CMU) and Michigan Tech have collaborated for a decade to offer Michigan Tech students a chance to compete in CMU’s New Venture Challenge (NVC). This showcase event provides an opportunity for students at both universities to present their businesses and network with prospective investors, mentors and partners. Student participants compete for a total of $60,000 in prizes and in-kind services.
On April 22, four Michigan Tech teams—three from the College of Business—pitched their ideas and businesses in person on CMU’s campus in Mount Pleasant. Students had an opportunity to compete in either the two-minute pitch competition or the seven-minute business model competition, as well as a gallery competition where teams had tables with individual displays and took questions from attendees.
New Venture Challenge winners from the College of Business are as follows:
Two-Minute Pitch Competition
- Jakob Christiansen (construction management) won first place and received $4,000. Christiansen pitched “ProBoard,” an e-commerce platform to solve issues in the construction material supply chain.
Seven-Minute Pitch Competition
- Bayle Golden (master’s in engineering management) won first place in the Social Mission category and received $10,000. Golden pitched “SafeRow,” an innovative wearable device designed to keep children safe when every second counts.
- Jordan Craven (management information systems) won third place in the High Tech High Growth category and received $2,000. Craven pitched “Tall and Small Designs,” a technology company that provides software to online clothing retailers
“Your ideas have the potential to change the world.”
In preparing for the New Venture Challenge, Michigan Tech students participated in Husky Innovate workshops and review sessions. They also benefited from resources and expertise available within MTEC SmartZone, the local state-funded technology business incubator, and the Upper Peninsula Regional Small Business Development Center, which is hosted by Michigan Tech’s Office of Innovation and Commercialization in collaboration with the College of Business. Student mentors and sponsors include Pavlis Honors College, Office of Innovation and Commercialization, College of Business, College of Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, and Civil Engineering.
Golden, winner in the Social Mission category, has formed a Limited Liability Company (LLC) with her earnings, and will
begin production to segue into a full launch. In addition, on Thursday, May 12, as part of Northern Michigan Startup Week in Traverse City, the Michigan Tech graduate student will pitch to compete for a cash prize and startup resources amongst student-entrepreneurs from five other Michigan universities during the University Idea Showcase, hosted by TCNewTech in partnership with the Michigan Tech College of Business. Alumnus and local business owner, David McBride ‘82, will serve as a judge of the showcase.
“I am so thankful for the mentorship and support I have received from Michigan Tech for this venture. I look forward to being yet another success story from Tech!”
About the College of Business
The Michigan Tech College of Business offers undergraduate majors in accounting, construction management, economics, engineering management, finance, management, management information systems, and marketing, as well as a general business option. Graduate degrees include the TechMBA®, a Master of Engineering Management, a Master of Science in Accounting, and a Master of Science in Applied Natural Resource Economics.