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College students participate in Student Pitch Competition finals

LOCK HAVEN — Lock Haven University business students recently participated in the Student Pitch Competition finals.

Students from the entrepreneurship course at Lock Haven University, directed by Gerard Martorell, worked on various venture projects. This year, among the different projects, one was related to Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club, “Wolves,” in the Premier League in England, and another on the Puy du Fou theme park in France.

The Wolves were invited to view the presentations via Zoom. Russell Jones, Wolves’ head of marketing, and Joe Hunt, Wolves’ international project manager, attended the meeting and asked several questions to the groups. A serious discussion about the business models on how the sports academies work on each side of the Atlantic ensued for several minutes between the Wolves managers and the group members.

Puy du Fou guests Guillaume Ingrand, legal manager, and Chloe Rangeard-Piton, assistant legal manager, also were invited to view the presentations during their visit to Lock Haven for another event on campus. In this case, the related student project addressed the problem of investing in a restaurant that only is open when the park is open.

The students proposed an innovative idea of having a restaurant with two accesses: One from inside the park and another from outside the park, allowing the restaurant to serve the surrounding community during the winter season, when the park closed. The Puy du Fou representatives showed interest in knowing more about the feasibility of the project.

“This annual event continues to serve as a great opportunity for LHU students to pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges who are regarded as experts in their fields,” said Tim Keohane, director of the Small Business Development Center at the university.

At the finalist competition, teams of students were given 15 minutes to “pitch” their original business idea in front of a panel of judges that included: Rick Kuczawa, Woodlands Bank; Stephen Poorman; Albert Jones, First Quality; and Solomon Wheeler, U.S. Small Business Administration.

After long discussions, the judges gave two first prizes at $1,000. The two winners were a spray foam weed preventer by Avery Eddy and Joe Zgleszewski and 24-diner-restaurant in Lock Haven by Mae McGrath, Ashlyn Spencer and Abigail Shirer. Third place was Laundry Hub on Wheels by Shannon Stegmann and Scott Baran, who received $500.

“Having our students engage in projects that were both locally focused and linked with our international partners, Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club and Puy du Fou Theme Park, was amazing to witness,” said John Nauright, dean of The Stephen Poorman College of Business Information Systems and Human Services.

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