Tag: Entrepreneurs Club

Winning Pitch Cleans up at Competition

Entrepreneurship Club hosts another successful Elevator Pitch Competition.

Today’s university students are reminded to be careful about what they put up on their Facebook or Twitter accounts. Sometimes they forget, and that’s a job for Clean It Up, the winning entry in the fifth annual Bob Mark Elevator Pitch Competition held Thursday night on the campus of Michigan Technological University.

The late business professor Bob Mark created the competition so students could polish their 90-second, new business pitches, emulating the length of an elevator ride.

The brainchild of accounting major Nikoli Wiens, assisted by chemical engineering major Zach Eckert, Clean It Up promises to clean up content and profiles on the Internet, even beyond the cleansing that Facebook and Twitter claim to do upon request.

“Companies will still dig deeper and get the info,” said Wiens. “We know it’s important to remove certain content, and we would do it cheaper than other services.” The team claimed there was more than $1 million in revenue possible with their $25 fee; such is the need for their service.

Their motto? “Don’t let one crazy weekend ruin your life forever.” They won $1,000 for their efforts.

Second place and $500 went to a device to which university students could also relate. FairShare promised a simple plug-in to calculate individual electric power usage, an important consideration for students sharing living spaces and expenses.

FairShare was created by an elevator-pitch veteran, Abhilash Kantamneni, who won last year’s competition with an Indian dating service.

“This can help college students save money,” Kantamneni said. “It would only cost $25, so most can afford it.” Kantamneni is a PhD student in computer science.

The bronze medal and Audience Favorite Award went to the ingenious Flashion, an app for your cellphone that can take a photo of a pair of shoes, for example, and instantly find their source, price, and more.

This mobile app would be free, according to creators Armando Flores, majoring in communication, culture, and media, and Allison Strome, a management major. They credited teammate and finance major Natalia Lebedeva for their inspiration, with whom they will share $250.

“She had the idea and we just built on it,” Flores said. “We might try to get funding on Kickstarter [the online funding site] to form an LLC.

Safety Straw targeted chemicals added surreptitiously to people’s drinks. Green Receipts sought to eliminate paper receipts at businesses. And more student-friendly businesses included Experience University, to help choose the right courses and teachers; and Food Now, to get groceries and fast food delivered to their rooms when they are in mid-cram for that final exam.

Michigan Tech entrepreneurs can also set their sights on the New Venture Competition, held at Central Michigan University in March and providing $65,000 in prize money.

All Majors invited to Elevator Pitch Competition!

What is an Elevator Pitch?

An elevator pitch is a short speech that outlines a business idea.

Come Pitch your idea for a chance to win $1000 in 90 seconds!

When: Thursday, November 7th at 6:00 pm

Where: Fisher Hall, Room 135

Why: $1000 First Place Prize…$500 Second Place Prize…$250 Third Place Prize…$200 Audience Favorite

Even if you’re not interested in competing, please join us for what is sure to be a fun and entertaining event! We look forward to see you in the audience!

Please contact Nikoli Wiens with any questions at nrwiens@mtu.edu


2012 New Venture Competition

Have a business idea? Have new technology idea? No idea at all, but like the idea of starting a business? This is for you.

Michigan Technological University and Central Michigan University have partnered to create the New Venture Competition – one of the country’s top business plan competitions. First place winners will take home $30,000 to be used toward launching and growing your business. The cash is going to someone – why not YOU?

Did we mention that second and third place will win, too? Yup! $10,000 and $5,000.

Michigan Tech’s Entrepreneurs and Inventors Club is leading the kickoff on Monday, September 19 in 139 Fisher Hall – free pizza and everything you need to know. Stay tuned for details and important dates on the School of Business and Economics website. This epic event starts at 6pm.

The only question is: who’s going to win $30,000? Call Jonathan Leinonen, Program Director at MTEC SmartZone – 487-7004. He has all the information you need to know to get started in the New Venture  Competition.

Millionaire Speaks to Students

virtual-speaker-seriesThe Entrepreneurs Club at Michigan Tech kicked off its year-long Extreme Entrepreneur Live Speaker series Wednesday night.

People were packed into a Michigan Tech conference room to attend a virtual lecture with entrepreneur Cameron Johnson.

The 25-year-old millionaire spoke about the importance of mentors in the business world.  Those watching were able to ask Johnson questions via text and e-mail.

“Last year we had a similar event but it was like one action packed day with five different speakers talking for about an hour each,” said Entrepreneurs Club President Travis White.  “This gives us 10 speakers throughout the year and each night is an hour and half of content.”

The lectures are held the first Wednesday of every month in the Academic Office building, room 101.  The next speaker will be Anthony Adams on Wednesday, October 6. Everyone is welcome to attend.


This was originally posted by Ashley Palumbo of TV6.

The Extreme Entrepreneurship Virtual Speaker Series is brought to Michigan Tech by the Institute for Leadership and Innovation and the School of Business and Economics.

Poopy Pickups Creator Patricia Henderson Speaks to Entrepreneurs Club

Poopy Pickups by the Houghton, Michigan Waterfront
Poopy Pickups by the Houghton, Michigan Waterfront

Patricia Henderson didn’t necessarily plan to be the head of a firm. “I thought I would build up sales of some product and sell the company,” she said. However, Cygany Inc. continued to grow and Henderson is still around.

Whether you call it “doodey”, “number two”, or “the stinky,” Cygany continues to pick up sales, while customers pick up poop! That’s right, Henderson’s product: the Poopy Pickup pet waste-removal bags are now available in 17,000 stores nation-wide and used in approximately 1000 city park systems including here in Houghton, Michigan. Henderson’s products can be ordered with storage units to house plenty of future Poopy Pickup bags, making them perfect for parks which wish to avoid becoming fecal mine fields. While Henderson’s customers pick up the dog’s “doo-doo”, entrepreneur club students here at Tech were able to pick up some lessons from this very successful business owner.

“It’s actually been harder to sustain the growth periods than it was to get started,” she said about working with a growing business. One might think that growth means a large staff and plenty of space for production facilities, but Henderson has taken a different approach. She says that by outsourcing some jobs and partnering with manufacturers and distributors, she has found more success than if she did those tasks internally. “I make their success dependent on my success,” said Henderson.

One also might think that selling to 17,000 stores would require a huge sales staff, but that’s not true either. “The biggest mistake I made when I started out was that I hired other people to do the sales for me,” said Henderson. “We only had $1400 of cumulative sales our first period.” Henderson quickly realized that she would do better speaking for her own product. “A product is only not sell-able if you cannot sell it yourself. The most important thing about a company is sales.”

Cygany Inc. continues to grow. Henderson has recently been tapping into the convenience store market, by demoing her product in trade shows. “Trade shows are really expensive, but they’re probably the best way to break into a new market,” she said.

Other than that, Henderson chalks success in the business world up to internal desire. “People are either born entrepreneurs or they’re not,” she said, stressing the importance of problem-solving abilities. “That’s the definition of an entrepreneur: a person who will figure it out somehow.”

She has another thing going for her. We love our four-legged friends and they will always be pooping. And we’ll always have to pick it up.