On March 29, Trinity University hosted the Stumberg Competition for entrepreneurship. Teams had to design a business and pitch it to a panel of judges. Successful teams won cash prizes.
Brittney Bowman, one of the people who helped organize the Stumberg Competition this year, described the event as a complete success.
“It went really, really well. We had eleven teams pitch, and five of them won a five thousand dollar prize. It was a lot of fun, and the judges, who actually judge a lot of other competitions as well, said that the pitches that we had that night were some of the best pitches they had ever seen,” Bowman said.
Bowman believes much of the success of the competition comes from the training the entrepreneurship department gives its students.
“So I think the Trinity entrepreneurship department does a really great job helping prepare people for it and making sure they have the right material in their pitches,” Bowman said.
Bowman continued to elaborate on what the judges were looking for in the contestants’ pitches, ideas and in the team itself.
“One thing the judges are looking for is profit and whether or not it’s a valid market. But another thing is just that they want to see that the team has done their research and knows what they’re talking about and also that the idea is practical,” said Bowman.
Further, judges wanted to ensure that the team designed a business that fit their skill sets.
“Not only that, but they want the team to fit with the idea, you know. They don’t want a history guy pitching a tech idea. They want to make sure that the team either has the abilities necessary to make the idea feasible or that they know what kind of people they need to get on their team,” Bowman said.
Bowman then described one of the pitches that she particularly enjoyed hearing, and why she thinks their pitch went over well with the judges.
“One of the pitches I really liked was about increasing awareness of rape and sexual assault. One of the ideas behind their platform was basically to make it a more common thing to talk about. They’re actually one of the teams that won, and what the judges really liked about theirs was that they had done a lot of research and really knew what the people wanted it to be. Also, one thing that was really nice about theirs was that they pretty much just needed a website, they didn’t necessarily need thousands of dollars to get it up and running. So it was different and it was for a good cause, and I think the judges really liked that,” Bowman said.
Meghan Mardashti, a Trinity first year that presented as a part of the team for the Women’s Ambassadors Forum, shared her experience in presenting in the Stumberg competition last week.
“Our presentation was mainly us hitting the key points of who we are, what we’re doing, what our mission is and, of course, what we would use the money for. A lot of it really was just being confident and ready for anything because the judges can come up with a lot of questions, and it looks really bad if you don’t have some sort of answer,” Mardashti said.
Bowman discussed the Women’s Ambassadors Forum pitch, and why the judges liked what they heard.
“They knew what they were doing. They had a mission, they knew what they wanted it to look like, and they just generally had it all figured out. I think that one of the biggest things was that they knew what they were going to use the money for and what they would do with that. Obviously when you’re asking investors for money, that’s their biggest question. They just really had it together,” Bowman said.
Mardashti continued to explain how she benefited from being a part of the competition and how it helped her grow as an entrepreneur.
“The judges are some really successful people, and they’ve had a lot of experience. It was like a more mellow version of Shark Tank, you know, because there were a lot of spectators there, too, so you really wanted to make sure that you presented yourself and your idea really well. It definitely helps you get over the fear of public speaking and learning to present your ideas,” Mardashti said.
Bowman then offered her own advice to anyone considering entering into the Stumberg Competition for next year.
“Do all of your research. Any question the judges may ask, you need to be able to answer them. In addition to that, just be passionate about your idea. I saw one team that had a good idea, but they didn’t have a lot of passion when they were talking about it, and I think the judges saw that, and that’s what got them down. The judges are also looking at the team, because, even if the idea is great, if the team doesn’t seem like it would work, they aren’t going to want to invest the money there. Be passionate, have a team with the same vision, and know the ins and outs of your presentation,” Bowman said.