Launch VT Collegiate Finalists Prepare for Competition

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -- LaunchVT Collegiate is coming to Champlain College on Feb. 19 and will feature top college student entrepreneurs from campuses across Vermont vying for a spot in the finals of LaunchVT, a statewide business pitch competition offering a $30,000 first prize.

The effort to create the competition aimed at college students has been led by Champlain College's Build Your Own Business (BYOBiz) Director Robert Bloch, who worked to bring nine Vermont higher education institutions together with the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Vermont Small Business Development Center.

"The program enables our student entrepreneurs, both social entrepreneurs or those more commercially inclined to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges. If they succeed, they can move all the way to the finals of LaunchVT, with a first prize of $30,000 cash plus approximately $45,000 of important "payment in kind" business services, e.g. legal, accounting and marketing services," Bloch explained.

Participating this year will be Champlain College, Middlebury College, University of Vermont, Norwich University, Saint Michael's College, Castleton State College, Johnson State College, Vermont Technical College, and Lyndon State College.

Each institution will select a student entrepreneur/entrepreneurial team to represent the institution at the Feb. 19 LaunchVT Collegiate Finals, which will be held at Champlain College's Alumni Auditorium from 3 to 6 p.m. Recent Champlain College graduate Jack Carpenter '15 will MC the free event that is open to the public.

Each collegiate team will have 10 minutes to present their business pitch, followed by Q&A. It need not be an operating business. A panel of three judges will determine if the plan is viable and offers a likelihood of meaningful growth and successful business. The winning team will receive a cash prize of $7,500 and the opportunity to participate as a finalist in the LaunchVT competition on May 5.

"It is important to note that college-age students have fared well in the past three LaunchVT events, including winning two of the three years it has been held," Bloch said.

First-year student Matthew Giles '19, an International Business major, and his partner, sophomore Cullen Jemison, a mechanical engineering major at the University of Vermont, were selected as the Champlain College representative based on their pitch for a start-up company called "Thermouse," which is developing an ergonomically superior computer mouse. They received a $2,000 prize from BYOBiz.

Earning second place was David Helebert '16, who pitched his company "Black Market U," a commercial version of the Champlain Black Market Facebook page, which Helebert created along with Josh Miller '16, Jonah Allibone '18, and Peter Orzell '16. The prize was $500.

Rounding out the competition in third place was Vsevolod (Sev) Tysh '16, who pitched an online service called "Ici/La" to provide a social networking site for "foreigners in a foreign land," along with Chief Marketing Officer Jadd Serhan '16 and Chief Technology Officer Michael Roberts '18. The prize was $100.

Judges for the Champlain College competition were Ken Merritt, founder, Merritt, Merritt & Moulton; Tim Volk, partner, KSV; Doug Hartwell, founder and CEO of Bitybean; and Jeremy Kent, CEO Budnitz Bicycles.

Check out the online version of this release https://slate.adobe.com/cp/q9cx9/

ABOUT CHAMPLAIN COLLEGE: Founded in 1878, Champlain College is a small, not-for-profit, private college in Burlington, Vermont, with additional campuses in Montreal, Quebec and Dublin, Ireland. Champlain offers a traditional undergraduate experience from its beautiful campus overlooking Lake Champlain and over 60 online undergraduate and graduate degree programs and certificates. Champlain's distinctive career-driven approach to higher education embodies the notion that true learning occurs when information and experience come together to create knowledge. Champlain College is included in the Princeton Review's The Best 379 Colleges: 2015 Edition. Champlain College is featured in the "Fiske Guide to Colleges" for 2016 as one of the "best and most interesting schools" in the United States, Canada and Great Britain. For more information, visitwww.champlain.edu.


CALENDAR LISTING

LAUNCHVT COLLEGIATE COMPETITION - Feb. 19, 3 to 6 p.m., Champlain College Alumni Auditorium, 375 Maple St. Burlington. Free and open to the public. Teams from nine Vermont colleges and universities pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges vying for a $7,500 top prize and a spot in the LaunchVT statewide competition on May 5. Sponsored by Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce, Vermont Small Business Development Center and Champlain College. More information, Robert Bloch, 802-865-6490.


Founded in 1878, Champlain College is a small, not-for-profit, private college in Burlington, Vermont, with additional campuses in Montreal, Canada, and Dublin, Ireland. Champlain offers a traditional undergraduate experience from its beautiful campus overlooking Lake Champlain and over 90 residential undergraduate and online undergraduate and graduate degree programs and certificates. Champlain's distinctive career-driven approach to higher education embodies the notion that true learning occurs when information and experience come together to create knowledge. Champlain College is included in the Princeton Review's The Best 382 Colleges: 2018 Edition. For the third year in a row, Champlain was named a "Most Innovative School" in the North by U.S. News & World Report's 2018 "America's Best Colleges," and an "A+ School for B Students" and is ranked in the top 100 Regional Universities of the North. Champlain is also featured in the Fiske Guide to Colleges for 2018 as one of the "best and most interesting schools" in the United States, Canada and Great Britain and is a 2018 College of Distinction. For more information, visit  www.champlain.edu.