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LSUS Pilot Pitch competition seeking entries for cash prizes

SHREVEPORT – Are you an LSUS student with an idea for a product, service, or new technology that you’ve always wanted to turn into a business?

Come stake your claim at the LSUS Pilot Pitch competition.

Register ahead of the Sept. 7 deadline for the chance to gain insight from LSUS business faculty and local entrepreneurs on how to sharpen your business plan. An information session will take place Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. to answer questions. The meeting is in room 100 of the Business and Education building on LSUS’s campus.

The competition is open to students of all majors and disciplines, both in person and online.

Two divisions (one for graduate students and another for undergraduate students) will compete for three cash prizes per division – top prize is $3,000, second place is $1,000 and third place is $500.

For more information and to register, students can search Moodle courses for the 2023 Pilot Pitch competition.

“This is the first year that we’ve created two divisions because we want to encourage more undergraduate students and students other than business majors to participate,” said Dr. Mike McDaniel, an LSUS management and marketing faculty member who has more than 25 years of leading organizations in various industries like defense and energy before joining academia. “We know that students in areas like computer science, biology and liberal arts have ideas to contribute.

“We understand that students might not know much about creating a business plan. But entrepreneurship is learned through hands-on experience. We want people with ideas, and we can walk them through the process.”

After declaring their intent to compete and submitting an idea by the Sept. 7 deadline, students have a month to create a business plan.

Students will participate in a virtual business development workshop Sept. 14 that will guide them in formulating a one-page lean canvas, a five-page business plan, a summary of financial projections and a pitch deck. A pitch deck is an introductory overview of the business.

The competition is a collaboration between LSUS and the Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program, an organization based in northwest Louisiana that has helped launch more than 90 startups and mentored more than 300 small businesses. The EAP is a division of BRF, an economic development organization that works to establish North Louisiana as a preferred destination for high-growth initiatives.

These entities will assist students in honing their ideas and pitches. Students can submit pitches individually or form a team. “Throughout the whole process, each applicant or team will be assigned a faculty member or a local entrepreneurial professional to help them figure things out,” said McDaniel, whose research centers on entrepreneurship. “Our entire goal is to help students improve their ideas and plans should they want to take it further later.”

Final submissions are due Oct. 7, and a panel will select five finalists from each division to make pitches for prize money.

The finalists will participate in a second virtual business development workshop Oct. 17 specifically aimed at their business plans. Those finalists will pitch their ideas Nov. 6, giving seven-minute presentations followed by a five-minute question-and-answer session from a panel of judges. Online students can make their pitches virtually if they don’t reside in the area. Finalists in the Pilot Pitch competition could then advance to compete in statewide competitions such as the Pelican Cup at the University of Louisiana at Monroe with a grand prize of $50,000.

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