By Susan Scherreik,
Director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies
Do you dream about launching the next Uber? Would you like to turn an innovative idea into a venture that rivals Twitter?
Perhaps you have started a business, but need advice and cash to get to the next level.
If so, consider entering Pirates Pitch 2016, the sixth annual Seton Hall University venture fund competition.
The competition will award $10,000 in prizes for the most innovative business ideas.
Plus, the two top winners will have access to lawyers, accountants, and other professionals to help them get a startup idea off the ground.
“This is an awesome opportunity for our students with entrepreneurial spirit to shine,” said Susan Scherreik, Founding Director of the Stillman School of Business’ Center for Entrepreneurial Studies.
Pirates Pitch is open to all full-time undergraduate and graduate students at Seton Hall University.
To enter, students acting alone or in teams of up to five students, submit an original business idea, outlined in a two page executive summary, or in a two-minute original video.
You can submit your idea between now and Tuesday February 16 at midnight. Students who have already started a new business are also eligible to enter Pirates Pitch.
In the case of an existing business, students must submit an original idea for how to how to expand their business.
To get started, please see the Pirates Pitch website at http://www.shu.edu/go/piratespitch.
To help you to get started, the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies will hold two information sessions open to all university students so that you can find out details for entering.
The sessions will be held on Tuesday, January 26 and Tuesday February 2. Both will be held at 8:00 p.m. in the Entrepreneurship Center, Room 528, Jubilee Hall.
Expert mentors will be at the sessions to provide students with confidential guidance and feedback about their business ideas. Pizza will be served.
The contest will be comprised of three rounds. In the first round, with applications due February 16, students submit an original business idea, or a plan to expand their existing business.
A panel of outside judges, comprised of successful entrepreneurs, will narrow down the field of initial entries to ten semi-finalists.
The judges will evaluate the business ideas on factors that include creativity, innovation, and the new venture’s potential to turn a profit.
In the second round, the ten semi-finalist teams will each make a five minute pitch to the judges, who will then select the five finalists.
The five finalists will be announced on Feb. 25. In the third round of the contest, the final five teams will submit detailed business plans, and make ten minute presentations to a panel of judges on Pirates Pitch Day, scheduled for April 8.
The winning team will receive $6,000 in prize money, and the runner-up team will receive $3,500.
Both top winners will also receive business services to help them launch their ventures.
The public is invited to Pirates Pitch Day, and audience members will be asked to cast a vote for their favorite finalist team. The most popular team will receive a $500 Audience Choice Award.
“Pirates Pitch is not just about having a shot to win thousands of dollars. It is also about making great connections and getting exposure for your business,” Scherreik said.
Students who have won awards in Pirates Pitch have gone on to win additional awards in regional and national collegiate business model competitions.
These include, most recently, Stillman Sophomore Ryan Skolnick and Stillman Senior Selene Presseller, who separately placed in the semi-final round of the 2016 National Student Startup Madness Competition, which will be held at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas in March.
Two years ago, Pirates Pitch winner Taseen Peterson ’14, was the national winner in the Student Startup Madness competition and his venture, Notefuly, was named by Inc. magazine as one of the nation’s coolest college startups.
In addition, Selene Presseller, was recently named a winner in the Newark Innovation Challenge competition hosted by the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, January 26th print edition.
For more information, contact
Director Susan Scherreik at