STORY AND PHOTOS BY KACIE TIMMONS
The Center For Entrepreneurship at Fort Hays State University hosted “Pitch & Pizza” on September 19th in the Memorial Union. Students were given the opportunity to pitch a business idea in under 90 seconds for a chance at winning a cash prize and a trip to the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization Conference in Tampa, Florida. Eight contestants pitched their business ideas to a panel of judges.
“This is a good place to get started, for students to experiment and be creative, and to start presenting their ideas in person,” said Dr. David Snow, the Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship.
First place and $300 was awarded to Mark Schuckman. Schuckman’s business was named “High Above the Plains Drone Technologies.” The purpose of his business was to create the ability for drones to be more commonly used for agriculture and other services in western Kansas. Drones can be used for surveying, crop scouting, gathering data, and many other things.
“Agriculture is the leading industry in the Midwest and one of the biggest markets for drone use,” Schuckman said. “I took a class last year where I got more experience with drones, and after doing a research project over them, I was very interested in drone work. I thought this is something I really like and could make money at.”
Ector Diaz took second place and was awarded $200 for his business idea to bring virtual reality and ultimate gaming to Hays, KS.
The third place prize and $100 was given to Jade Artzer for her business, “Pulse”, which would provide a marketing network for small businesses, allowing them to collaborate and create a stronger market for local businesses.
The Center for Entrepreneurship will have a different competition later this year, where students will have the opportunity to create a five-page business plan, outlining their ideas in greater detail.
“It will take a lot of time and work, but if the students wanted to put the effort into it, these ideas could eventually become businesses,” Dr. Snow said.
Dr. Snow hopes to make this an annual event to encourage creativity and entrepreneurship, as well as give students the opportunity to showcase their dreams and ideas. This competition provides students with a foundation to bring their business to life and helps show them they can be a successful entrepreneur.