University of Vermont

School of Business Administration

Practice Business Pitch Competition Showcases Student Ideas

Educating Managers for the Future

Thirteen ideas, a three-minute pitch and one winner - that was the concept behind the Practice Business Pitch Competition on Sunday, April 29.

“The ideas were from all across campus and different majors,” said Jason Fish, president of the Entrepreneurship Club.  “It was just all around a great experience for everyone.”

Elizabeth Bernier, a junior Business Administration student, was excited and nervous about presenting her idea for a lounge-style restaurant/bar in Burlington that pairs small plates and desserts with drinks.

“It will be locally sourced and globally focused,” said Bernier, who is concentrating in Entrepreneurship. “We’ll have foods from all over the world and drinks from all over the world.”

Bernier’s business was one of thirteen ideas presented to a team of judges including Ken Horsemen, Economic Development Specialist for the State of Vermont, Eli Moulton, a Lawyer at Merritt, Merritt and Moulton, and Darcy Carter, the Vermont Director at the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The winning team pitched an idea for an indoor terrain park called Endless Winter Ben Mantarian, Kellen Ryan and Joe Smith came prepared with supplemental packet of materials that included their target market, gross revenue projections, sources and uses of funds, and income statements to give to the judges.

“The best presentations that came in weren’t necessarily the best ideas but the most well-prepared, so it’s how you come across and deliver the ideas,” said Fish.

“I think it was a good start,” said Dann Van Der Vliet, director of the Family Business Initiative and Entrepreneurship Club advisor.  “For the students, it was an opportunity to have their ideas vetted in front of some folks who have real life experience and also to be up against their peers.”

The UVM Entrepreneurship Club sponsored the practice competition to help prepare students for the upcoming Business Pitch Competition in October.

“Hopefully this will build some momentum for us and for the contestants as well because they can get an extra learning experience before the real competition starts,” said Fish.

Bernier is planning to participate in the Business Pitch Competition in October.  Her goal is to start her own business after graduation.

“I want to open it in Burlington and then expand into cities similar to Burlington like Portland, Maine, Savannah, Georgia, and Ann Arbor, Michigan, … and then expand into bigger cities after that,” Bernier said.