Students demonstrated their ingenuity and creativity with business ideas spanning fields as diverse as fashion, educational technology, and urban planning at the 2014 Broad Business Pitch Competition finals.

2014 Broad Business Pitch Competition winnersAt the finals, six entrepreneurial-minded teams from across Michigan State University and the Eli Broad College of Business displayed their hard work through five-minute presentations to a distinguished panel of judges.

Paul Zielinski (MBA ’15) and his partner Gerry Marchand won the graduate competition and $5,000 for Video Brains, an educational video game company that combines fun with curriculum-based learning to help students improve their STEM skills.

Elizabeth Richter (MBA ’16) and Emily Clark (BA Supply Chain Management ’15) took second place and $2,500 with Horizontal Heel, shoes that convert from flats to heels to enable women to be comfortable at work without taking two pairs of shoes.

The undergraduate champions and recipients of $5,000 were Payden Myers (BA Finance ’17) and Ben Myers for Sparty Park, a parking lot for freshmen within walking distance of campus.

In the first round of the competition, 10 graduate teams and 10 undergraduate teams were selected based on their knowledge of the problem statement, proposed solution, understanding of the company and marketplace, and execution strategy. In the second round, the 20 teams had three days to prepare a two- or three-minute video presentation. The remaining teams presented at the finals hosted on November 20 at the Wharton Center.

“Even if the students choose not to pursue their ideas upon leaving MSU, they will be armed with an experience that has prepared them with the tools they need to move a business concept from idea to implementation strategy,” said Ken Szymusiak, managing director of the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. “This type of skill is needed whether you are an entrepreneur or a manager in a large corporation.

“Ultimately we want to help students become leaders who are able to create change and innovate upon the status quo,” Szymusiak said.