Montclair State University is gearing up to award the next big idea at its annual entrepreneur contest. With $80,000 in prize money earmarked for winning student startups, Montclair State’s competition is the largest collegiate pitch contest in New Jersey.
The University’s Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship invited students from across campus to participate in this year’s competition. After sifting through all the submissions, the judged have selected 14 semifinalists for the annual pitch showcase on Wednesday, May 2.
The BulbHead.com Inventors Day for Aspiring Entrepreneurs is the highlight of a process that has seen student teams from a variety of majors and academic programs develop their business ideas. Their ventures represent a rich diversity of interests, with new tech apps, products and gadgets and food startups among the enterprises students hope to grow with the prize money.
“The students are demonstrating to themselves that they can be real entrepreneurs with real ventures that offer real value,” says Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship Director Dennis Bone.
This year, $80,000 will be awarded, a prize pool increased substantially for the 2018 contest, generously funded by alumnus AJ Khubani ’84, founder of TeleBrands and BulbHead.
“As a proud Montclair State alumnus, I understand the value of an effective education teaching entrepreneurism for success in today’s competitive business world,” Khubani says. “These funds will assure that young minds at the University continue to have the opportunity to pursue their consumer product outreach dreams.”
The money will be split among three winners – $50,000 for first place, $20,000 for second place and $10,000 for third place. At each prize level, 20 percent of the award will go directly to the student team members and the remaining 80 percent will be invested in the startup venture under the coaching of the Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship.
“We know there are lots of potential student entrepreneurs around campus, who are serious about developing and launching their ideas,” Bone says. “The new prizes should ratchet up entrepreneurial activity and move the entrepreneurial needle all across campus.”
The Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship creates authentic entrepreneurial experiences for students, offering pitch competitions, 3D printing, digitally mediated making MIX Lab and an annual celebration of female founders and leaders during Women Entrepreneurship Week.
At the pitch showcase on May 2, the semi-finals will be 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. with finals beginning at 2 p.m. in the Conference Center on the seventh story of University Hall. Winners will be announced around 4:30 p.m.