Restructured PioBiz competition returns to campus

Matt Peters

Marietta College’s third annual “PioBiz” business competition will begin next month. Students will compete in a series of paneled rounds, with the final round’s grand prize totaling $10,000.

“Entrepreneurship is about really seizing an opportunity, and I saw this as an opportunity,” junior marketing major Mel Shuler said.

Shuler says his marketing background, coupled with his interest in shows like Shark Tank, propelled him to compete in this year’s PioBiz competition.

“The knowledge I’ve gained from marketing – trying to translate that to entrepreneurship was intriguing to me,” Shuler said. “I want to be an entrepreneur, and I think this business plan and the PioBiz helped to lead me in that direction.”

In order to win, Shuler must advance through three rounds of competition, facing off against his fellow students. Each round will increase in difficulty, and feature a different set of judges.

In the first round, students will simply provide a “solution to a problem.” In the second round, they will provide their “proof of concept.” Select finalists will then advance to the third round, where they will pitch their business plans for a chance at the $10,000 award.

Students in attendance at September’s PioPitch session. Photo by Matt Peters

“We wanted to provide opportunity for students to take it one step at a time,” organizer (Chair of Business and Economics Department) Jacqueline Khorassani said, explaining that students are often overwhelmed at the prospect of developing an entire business plan.

In previous years, students were expected to enter the competition with a completed business plan. But this year, they can enter with just a concept, and develop their business plan over the course of the semester.

“We wanted students to not be intimidated by this huge thirty-page business plan that they had to turn in,” Khorassani said. “A lot of successful entrepreneurs have not necessarily started with a business plan.”

Khorassani also plans to provide students with professional mentors who can help them develop their business plans.

“We understand that a college student may have wonderful ideas and great imagination, but they don’t have a lot of experience. So we want to match them up with people who have experience, who can guide them,” Khorassani said.

Any full-time Marietta College student may compete in PioBiz, alone or as a member of a team. Applications for the first PioBiz round are due by Nov. 24, 2017.

More information can be found here:

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