Encouraging Entrepreneurs: BizPitch Challenges Collegians To Get To Work

By Rick Dandes
The Daily Item, Sunbury, Pa.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) The BizPitch ’17 finalists ranged from community-service platforms to retail venues, and from consumer goods to food service companies.


The entrepreneurial spirit runs deep at Bucknell and at no time of the year is that more apparent than at the university’s annual Biz Pitch competition, where teams of students vie for prizes that top off at $3,000.

More than 175 students and faculty filled the Terrace Room at the Elaine Langone Center, on campus, to watch the six teams “pitch” their business ideas to a distinguished panel of successful entrepreneurs who also happen to be Bucknell graduates.

“I’m inspired by the way in which this year’s student participants took to heart this year’s BizPitch prompt in which they were to envision the way in which their company would make a positive change in the world,” said Steve Stumbris, director of Bucknell’s Small Business Development Center, the driving force of the event.

This year’s BizPitch competition featured bigger prizes, an emphasis on social responsibility and, for the first time, a majority of female student entrepreneurs presenting in the final round, Stumbris said.

The BizPitch ’17 finalists ranged from community-service platforms to retail venues, and from consumer goods to food service, Stumbris said.

Like TV’s popular “Shark Tank,” the Biz Pitch finalists were quizzed and advised by a panel of experts: Michael Malin, a cyber-security executive, co-founder and CFO of tacomputer security company, Mandiant; Jennifer Mellon, co-founder and president of Trustify, which connects individuals and businesses to licensed private investigators; Bryan Urioste, executive vice president and chief marketing officer at Planview, a business portfolio and resource management firm, where he is responsible for global marketing operations; Richard Pisano, co-founder of Trilogy Essential Ingredients, a company that produces flavorings for the food, beverage, meat and seasonings; and Lois-An Gregory, a marketing performance management analyst at multinational software corporation SAP.

After all the pitches, the winning business was Shoulder Saver, by Camillo Lazarczyk. He created a shoulder device, a comfortable accessory for people who transport heavy sports equipment or other gear. Lazarczyk said he had been working on the idea “for about three years.”

“I play hockey,” he said, “and the bags of equipment you carry in shoulder bags can be uncomfortable. I came up with a solution that would make it easier for people to carry bags on the shoulder.”

Questioned by the judges — in true “Shark Tank” fashion — Lazarczyk said he would market it to small sports shops, targeting hockey players. “But I can see this device in other ways beyond sports,” he said.

After he won and accepted the $3,000 prize, Lazarczyk said, “Man, I was nervous. I had a lot of nervous energy. There were points I wanted to make to the judges. I practiced my pitch up through the night before the competition.”

The second place of $2,000 went to Salvage, a business that would offer high-fashion restyling and repurposing of unused garments.

And third place, a $1,000 winner, was Next Generation Storage, a platform that would connect people who need to store items with individuals who have extra storage space. Kind of an Airbnb for storage.

The bottom line, Urioste said, “is that all these teams are winners.
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Keep at it. If you believe in your business, don’t give up.”

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