The University of Portland’s 100K Challenge is a business plan competition put on by the Entrepreneurship Center allowing for finalist to apply for up to $100,000 towards the implementation of his or her business plan. The 2013 100K Challenge is the third annual competition and will be held on April 27th. In order to be able to participate in the 100K challenge contestants must be University of Portland students of any major with original business plans and content. The top three places from each of the two tracks, profit and non-profit, are announced at the end of the event. The top six presenters in the for-profit track will be eligible for an investment of up to $100,000 (half cash and half support services) made by the Launch Pad Fund investment committee. Finalist teams have up to nine months to negotiate terms and complete the investment process. Finalists in the non-profit track are eligible for a $2,500 grant and professional services award to assist in the launch or development of the non-profit made by the Launch Pad Fund non-profit committee.
UP’s Very Own Shark Tank
So how does the challenge work exactly? A modern example of this cutthroat challenge would be ABC’s hit new show Shark Tank. Shark Tank is a reality TV show produced by survivor producer Mike Burnett that features a panel of ‘potential investors’ or ‘sharks’ who consider offers from aspiring entrepreneurs. Much like the 100K Challenge, the entrepreneurs have one shot to impress the investors with their pitch and convince them that their business or product is worth investing in. The event is a prime example of poise under pressure. Students display professionalism through a prepared business presentation and must use their rhetorical skills to persuade the judges that their venture is feasible.
Past Winners in Action
Past winners, such as Kenny King and Kurt Berning of Global Ade, have continued to pursue their business plans with the support of University of Portland. Global ADE is a non-profit organization hoping to improve education in developing countries such as Cambodia. King and Berning hold annual fundraising dinners at the University of Portland Bauccio Commons in efforts to continue to raise funds for their growing business. This year was the 3rd annual global ade fundraising dinner, tickets were sold for $50 dollars per guest and $500 dollars per table.
Dr. Jon Down, an associate dean of the Pamplin School of Business, created the elevator pitch competition only a few years ago. Being an entrepreneur himself, he is an excellent advocate of students getting the opportunity to experience what it is like to pitch their ideas in front of a group of people. Dr. Down said, “It’s common for many business majors to be comfortable speaking in front of groups; however, for many students outside of the business school, the elevator pitch challenge and the 100K challenge are the only opportunities for them to publicly speak about their ideas.” While it is very common for business majors to participate in these types of events, a group of students called E-Scholars consist of students majoring in Engineering, Social Work, Communications and more.
Listen to Dr. Jon Down speak on the importance of the elevator pitch competition here:
Juniors Jordan Mattson, David Perry and Kelly Riley shared with us their elevator pitches during the competition.
Jordan Mattson is a Social Work major, who is currently in E-Scholars. David Perry is an Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management major, who is currently in E-Scholars and Kelly Riley is a Social Work major.
After her failed presentation at the Founders Day Elevator Pitch competition, Kelly Riley said she can’t wait to get back out there are show everyone that she means business. Riley added, “I’ve been working even harder on my presentation. I might have been overwhelmed on Founders Day, and failing there is better than failing on the day of the 100K Challenge.
Sean Wells, a junior business major and an attendee of the elevator pitch competition, said, “I think Abraham had a great pitch, but I think he also had some good competition. I think those who got 2nd place on Founders Day are going to try harder, probably harder than anyone else, to get 1st place.”
Meet 2013 Contestant Abraham Barajas
Abraham hopes that his fast food restaurant, “Pollos Rapidos,” will focus on creating and serving the best grilled chicken in America. He also wants to prepare various styles of chicken and meet the demand from the growing Hispanic population in Oregon.
He really enjoyed the event and felt honored to be named the winner among so many well prepared presentations. “[The competition] really demonstrated a level of professionalism that was expected of us,” he said.
His advice for future candidates: “Some people don’t like to be in front of an audience, but if you make the pitch fun and interesting you won’t have a problem on stage.”
Dr. Meckler said, “I think it’s great, all of the effort and work I have seen Abraham put into this business.” As a professor, all we want is to see our students achieve their goals. To be able to help a student like Abraham is more than any professor’s dream.”
Katie Capps, a Senior Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management major, is also participating in this year’s 100K Challenge. She said, “After participating in the elevator pitch competition on founders day, and not doing as well as I wanted to, it really helps drive me to do better.” Abraham added, “I agree. In my case, I got 2nd when we traveled to Denver, so I knew I wanted to get 1st at the elevator pitch competition. Winning that competition is driving me any more to win the 100K challenge.”
The event is this upcoming Saturday, April 27, 2013 at Buckley Center Auditorium. Abraham Barajas and the rest of the competitors will present their business plans to a panel of selected judges in the 3rd Annual 100K Challenge.