Partnership with Verizon Foundation Offers CUNY Student Entrepreneurs Prizes and Mentoring to
Launch Business Ventures
NEW YORK, NY-January 9, 2014 – This spring a diverse group of young entrepreneurs from the City University of New York will compete in the 12th Annual IVE SmartPitch Challenge, hosted by Baruch College and the Lawrence N. Field Center for Entrepreneurship.
The Smart Pitch Challenge, created by the CUNY Institute for Virtual Enterprise, gives student entrepreneurs an opportunity to create and validate a business concept, pitch their idea and follow a business plan to ultimately launch their business.
The Verizon Foundation, the competition’s new sponsor, is providing a $60,000 grant to support this year’s SmartPitch Challenge, including $25,000 in prizes for the top five teams. Verizon will also offer mentors to provide infrastructure, marketing, and general business management support to the teams.
“These funds from Verizon will allow us to further expand our reach across all of the CUNY campuses and provide cash awards that will be critical in seeding the launch of students’ ventures,” said Monica Dean, Administrative Director of the Lawrence N. Field Center for Entrepreneurship.
The involvement of the Verizon Foundation is due to its response to a proposal submitted by Stuart Schulman, Professor of Management and Executive Director, CUNY Institute for Virtual Enterprise.
“We’re excited about welcoming Verizon to the SmartPitch family of sponsors and we look forward to developing a strong working relationship that will grow in the future,” Schulman said.
Justina Nixon-Saintil, Director of Education and Technology Programs for the Verizon Foundation, said, “As a company that believes innovation can provide powerful answers to some of the world’s most challenging problems, it’s a natural fit for us to encourage student entrepreneurship and help them develop their ideas and launch their ventures.”
The competition kick-off is scheduled at 10 a.m. on Friday, January 31, at Baruch College in room 14-220 of the Newman Vertical Campus, with a reception featuring remarks by noted business entrepreneurs, educators and mentors. A series of supporting events will be hosted throughout the challenge that will lead up to the formal SmartPitch competition on June 5. The first coworking session is scheduled at 1 p.m., February 7, at the Lawrence N. Field Center for Entrepreneurship. A list of events and updates can be found on Facebook and their Social Networking Site.
The CUNY Institute for Virtual Enterprise (IVE) was a pioneer when it launched a social networking platform to provide virtual mentoring and resources for student entrepreneurs in 2007. During the SmartPitch Challenge, this platform will serve as the virtual coworking space to engage mentors, ask experts and find peer support. In addition, there will be a series of face-to-face support events, workshops, and roundtables leading to the SmartPitch Challenge competition on June 5, where student entrepreneurs will make their presentations “pitches” and compete against other U.S. universities and colleges.
The best teams will be invited to present their concepts at the SmartPitch Event on June 5 and compete for $25,000 in prizes. The 1st Place team receives $10,000; 2nd Place receives $7,500 and 3rd Place receives $5,000, Most Innovative receives $1,500, and Audience Favorite receives $1,000. The top five winning teams will be selected to participate in a virtual business incubator ending with the launch of their concepts. The incubator includes: entrepreneurship boot camp, incubator space, expert IBM mentorships, access to the entrepreneurship network in virtual and real space, and access to stipends and angel investors. The winners will also present their new businesses in the fall, 2014 and be recognized as IVE Fellows in a continuing support network.
Learn about the 11th Annual SmartPitch Challenge winners online.
About Baruch College:
Baruch College is a senior college in the City University of New York (CUNY) with a total enrollment of more than 17,000 students, who represent 160 countries and speak more than 100 languages. Ranked among the top 15% of U.S. colleges and the No. 5 public regional university, Baruch College is regularly recognized as among the most ethnically diverse colleges in the country. As a public institution with a tradition of academic excellence, Baruch College offers accessibility and opportunity for students from every corner of New York City and from around the world. For more about Baruch College, go to http://www.baruch.cuny.edu/.
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