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Area Entrepreneurs To Vie For Prize Money At Susquehanna University

April 6, 2009

SELINSGROVE, Pa. – Creative entrepreneurs will get a chance to pitch their business ideas for prize money at “Succeed in 60 Seconds,” a lively outdoor event scheduled for April 16 at 3 p.m. in Susquehanna University’s Nicholas A. Lopardo Stadium. Entrepreneurs from around the region will have less than two minutes each – timed by a golf cart circling the football field – to impress judges, who will award $5,000 and $1,000 first and second prizes, respectively, for the best presentation.

More than 20 competitors are expected from the Susquehanna, Bloomsburg and Bucknell university communities, as well as from Geisinger Medical Center and surrounding areas. Pitches will be evaluated for viability, market appeal, timeliness, logistical implementation and other factors. Judges include Denise Prince, chief executive of Geisinger Ventures; Larry Hutchison, chief executive of Doublestar Inc.; Anne Kalin, co-founder and director of the Children’s Medical Foundation of Central and Eastern Europe; and Larry Seibert, regional manager with Ben Franklin Technology Partners.

Leann Mischel, assistant professor of management at Susquehanna’s Sigmund Weis School of Business, came up with the idea for “Succeed in 60.” “I wanted to do something where there would be a little bit of pressure on the contestants and a short time period to present,” she said. “We don’t have enough elevators around here to do ‘elevator pitches,’ so we came up with this idea to have a little fun with the contest.” 

“Succeed in 60 Seconds” is funded by a Keystone Innovation Grant. Announced last fall during Collaboration 2008, a two-day seminar hosted by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), the grants provide seed capital for faculty and students to conduct business plan and marketing analysis, prototyping, patent research and filing, intellectual property and licensing, and royalty agreements.

“Through past experience with these investments, we’ve learned that our academic institutions are a tremendous resource and can serve as a catalyst for creating new opportunities in advanced technology industries,” said DCED Secretary Dennis Yablonsky.

Founded in 1858, Susquehanna University is a national liberal arts college that prepares students for achievement, leadership and service in a diverse, interconnected world. Academic excellence, study away and service learning, student-faculty collaboration, and rich opportunities for creative and personal growth are hallmarks of a Susquehanna University education. Susquehanna students come from 30 states and 12 countries, and more than 90 percent of them find jobs or pursue graduate study within six months of graduation. The university is located in central Pennsylvania, in the town of Selinsgrove, along the banks of the scenic Susquehanna River and about three hours from major East Coast cultural, financial and recreational centers.

Contact: Karen Jones


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