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Contest Now Accepting Applications


Written by Bradley Bommarito

From now until Feb. 2, students have the opportunity to submit an idea for Roanoke College’s Shark Tank themed business competition.  Aptly named “The Pitch,” the first-place winner(s) of this contest receive an unrestricted check for $3,000 and ultimate bragging rights.

To enter the competition, one must simply answer a few brief questions relating to the product or service idea.  Questions assess the idea’s potential for profit, potential benefit to society, distinctness as compared to similar products, and plans for possible growth and expansion.

Winners of this preliminary round will advance to the semi-finals, which will take place during the morning blocks of Feb. 15 and 16.  This round will require further development of the idea and an in-person “pitch,” a persuasive presentation meant to sway potential investors (or in this case, judges).  The final round will take place on March 16.  This event will be open to the public and students as well as faculty are encouraged to attend.

Several submissions were made during the competition’s newly created early entry period, which took place last semester.  Those who entered the competition early received mentors to help them develop their idea.

“This year we added an early entry deadline so that non-business majors and younger business majors could get community support with developing their pitch,” said Steve Baker, adjunct professor and director of Roanoke College’s Center for Leadership and Entrepreneurial Innovation (CLEI).

This competition has been thriving for several years.  Last year, business major Luke Aprile won the competition by developing Frost Glove.  Constructed with a proprietary synthetic material that is conducive to gripping cowhide at the molecular level, this special glove allows players to grip a cold or wet baseball no matter how inclement the conditions are on game day.  Frost Glove now sells through online retailers, including Walmart’s website.

“Last year’s winner, Frost Gear, has continued to develop its product lines and markets and is now doing a multiple of at least 5-10 each month in revenue compared to one year ago,” said Baker.

The college’s CLEI is the official sponsor of “The Pitch.”  The college’s administration and local business and government leaders are major supporters.

“We are fortunate to have the continued support of the City of Salem.  They realize that growing our business development on campus will necessarily lead to positive things for the City of Salem,” said Baker.

Entries can be made by submitting the brief paper application in a sealed envelope with the words “PITCH SUBMISSION” written on the front to Steve A. Baker, West Hall 232.  A link for easy online entry will be emailed to all students soon.  Mr. Baker can be reached by email at sabaker@roanoke.edu or by phone at (540)-892-8598.