More than a dozen Grove City College students can claim victory in the recent Wolverine Venture Battle 2017 and Innovation Showcase.

The new venture competition, presented by the Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at Grove City College, didn’t offer first-, second- or third-prize awards to contestants. Instead, the judges, who heard pitches from eight student teams, acted as investors and distributed $15,000 in cash to the students who presented the strongest cases for their gestating businesses. 

The top winning team also won in-kind services, such as legal advice, accounting help, and web design assistance.

The winning contestants – and their earned “investments” – were:

    • PeeWee Packs (Ross Harrington ’17 and Hannah Vaccaro ’18) $8,500
    • Studio Song (Jordan Horst ‘18) $3,200
    • College Knowledge (Erin Sixt ’18, JP Popham ’19, and Colin Freyvogel ’18) $1,500
    • Haven (Chris Zimmerman ’17 and Jonathan Brutt ’17) $1,300
    • Foster Friends (Alex Bailey ’20, Alex Halton ’20, Caroline Parker ’20, and Maverick Dickson ’20) $1,200
    • The Piano Sensei (Connor Burns ’17) $400

The Wolverine Venture Battle 2017 consisted of three rounds of competition. In the first round, students had to submit a Lean Canvas, which outlined the problem their business intended to solve, identified the uniqueness and customer base of their idea, and how they intended to fund the business. In the second round, teams had to submit a Power Point presentation, a video submission and a written statement detailing their ideas. Round three, which took place on May 5, consisted of making their in-person pitch and responding to “investor” questions and concerns.

“This complete change in format marks what would have been the 15th year of our business plan competition,” stated Yvonne English, Executive Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, “The new Wolverine Venture Battle represents a more realistic approach to pitching your business. We’re focused on educating our students about venture creation in the real world.”

The competition was sponsored by Wesley Spectrum Services, S&T Bank, Splash Kitchen Bath Home, Pittsburgh Web Design, Ed ’71 and Cindy (Mayfield ’72) Crooks, The Habbershon Family (Tim ’81, Grant ’06, Meredith ’07, Jonathan ’09, and Natalie ’11) George ’88, Jeanne, Chad ’16, and Trey Hall, Eric ’73 and Susan Hanson, Matt ’92 and Kelly (Tsikalas ’92) Knouse and family, Paul ’78 and Pam (Saul ’79) Marshall and family, and Cedric E. Lewis, JD/MBA.

In addition to the Wolverine Venture Battle, the Innovation Showcase portion of the afternoon featured five VentureLab teams presenting to the audience about their projects this semester. The crowd then voted for their “Fan Favorite,” which was PrintIt (Stephen Weaver ’19), who won $350. The Grove City College VentureLab, sponsored by the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Grove City College, is an early-stage business and social enterprise idea feasibility lab that provides seed grants and guidance to carefully screened teams. The mission of the VentureLab is to help the Grove City College campus community explore and develop new ventures based on their own original concepts. It serves as a valuable starting point for innovation and enables aspiring entrepreneurs to gauge the feasibility of their ideas.

For more about the entrepreneurship program at Grove City College, please visit www.gccentrepreneurship.com or follow @gccentrepreneur on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.