By Andrew Aguilera,
Stillman News Editor
On Friday April 15, Ryan Skolnick, a sophomore majoring in management, marketing, and information technology, took second place at the first ever UPitchNJ competition at Rutgers University New Brunswick.
UPitchNJ is a state competition, involving twelve New Jersey universities, in which students pitch their startup ideas to win cash prizes.
The event also serves as an excellent opportunity for students to gain exposure to investors and top entrepreneurs in the area.
His business, Aveho (A-Way-Ho) Learning, consists of a video game made to teach foreign language through immersion.
The competition was sponsored by the New Jersey Collegiate Entrepreneurship Consortium.
Susan Scherreik, the Director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at Seton Hall University, began the event with some opening remarks.
She discussed how proud she was to see all of the universities come together to organize the event.
Following Scherreik was the keynote speaker, Melissa Orsen, CEO of the New Jersey Economic Authority.
She spoke about some of her experiences and how she made it to her position today.
After the keynote speaker, all contestants completed their presentation.
While the judges were deliberating, the students had the opportunity to network with all those in attendance.
Joining Skolnick at the event was Cody Laska, a sophomore majoring in finance, marketing, and economics.
Laska recently became an intern with Aveho Learning and this was his first major event as an intern.
At the event, Laska stood at the Aveho Learning table and spoke about the business to interested individuals.
After Skolnick’s presentation Laska said, “Ryan did a fantastic job with the presentation and really demonstrated what Aveho Learning is all about. He is the main reason that we got second place.”
At the end of the event, Scherreik said, “We are very proud of Ryan and his success at UPitchNJ. All of the student teams did a terrific job and the competition was a very exciting event.”
Skolnick reflected on the experience stating, “UPitchNJ was such a fantastic experience. No matter whether you are planning on developing a startup or working for a company your entire life, the entrepreneurial spirit is a necessity to get ahead.
He added, “In today’s job market, the most successful employees are innovative and recognize the need to have the ‘entrepreneurial mind set,’ so seeing so many individuals pitch their ideas was fantastic. I cannot wait to see next year’s contestants.”
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, April 26th print edition.
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