Maybe this is showing some of my personal bias, but it seems to me that nothing gets to the real core of the business school ethos than good, old-fashioned entrepreneurial competition. This past Friday, at this term’s first Pitch Dingman competition, four groups of aspiring entrepreneurs threw down in a no-holds-barred battle royale for a chance at $2,500 cash.
Alright, maybe “no-holds-barred” is a bit of an exaggeration. It was all actually quite civilized, and there was more of an atmosphere of community than competition. The audience waited patiently, sipping coffee, and the competitors huddled in their teams, murmuring in quiet anticipation that grew as the judges entered the room.
The rules of Pitch Dingman competitions are simple:
- Every team gets six minutes to present their idea to the panel.
- The panel then can ask any questions of the team.
- Rinse and repeat.
The teams were assessed according to how compelling their presentations were, whether or not they had a sizable target audience, and whether or not their angle had a marked competitive advantage. There was also an audience component – a separate $250 prize chosen by general vote after all was said and done. The competitors were:
- ShadesForU, a student-run group designing custom University of Maryland sunglasses
- UMD Party Operations, another group of UMD students that organize local events with a tie to campus Greek life
- Birich Technologies, headed by a UMD student working on his MS in Chemical Engineering, which was developing an alternative biotech form of chemotherapy
- Triton Light Technologies, a team of defense contractors working on a way to locate GPS spoofing and jamming for security purposes
All four teams gave very compelling presentations, and the room was abuzz with audience conjecture as we waited for the judges to return with their decision. After all, we all thought, there could only be one winner – but as it turned out, the judges decided to split the $2,500 pot among several teams!
- First place, and $1,500 in prize money, went to Triton Light Technologies
- Second place, $750 in prize money, and the $250 Audience Choice Award went to Birich Technologies
- And coming in third, with $250 in prize winnings, was ShadesForU
So, congratulations to the winners, and indeed to all the presenters. It takes a lot of moxie to do something like Pitch Dingman, after all.
If you’re reading this, and you think you have that sort of moxie, or that brilliant, money-making idea, the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship holds Pitch Dingman office hours every Friday from 11AM to 1PM at their offices in Van Munching Hall. Check out their website or shoot them an email for more information, and keep an ear open for when the next competition will be!
Until next time, business fans.