Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Kabara Institute sponsors business competitions

By Emma Stenzel
Cardinal Staff

Saint Mary’s University students have the opportunity to create and present business plans and compete for cash prizes in this semester’s Business Plan Competition and Elevator Pitch Competition, both sponsored by the Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies.

The Fourth Annual Business Plan Competition will allow students to develop a business plan for a business they would like to start. The plan must include an executive summary, concept statement, preliminary marketing plan, discussion of operating considerations, anticipated startup costs and references for sources used.

Undergraduate students of all majors are encouraged to participate and may compete as an individual or as a team of two students. Business majors and non-business majors compete in separate divisions.

Submissions for the Business Plan Competition are due Tuesday, March 15, to Teresa Speck, business professor ( Judges will consider the creativity of the business plans, the feasibility of the proposed project and the comprehensiveness of the plans. The Kabara Institute will award the winners with cash prizes.

“The Business Plan Competition allows students of every major to use their creativity and put their ideas down on paper,” said Speck. “They build the skills that help them become good employees.”

The Elevator Pitch Competition was held on Thursday, Feb. 3, where students created an idea for a new business or event and had only 90 seconds (the length of a typical elevator ride) to convince a panel of judges to invest in their business plan. A panel of judges, comprised of business faculty members, considered the feasibility and creativity of each idea and the enthusiasm and professionalism of the presentation.

Top prizes were awarded to Joe Richards, philosophy and marketing major; Becca Sandager, electronic publishing major; and Brian Dillon, accounting major. The Kabara Institute awarded a total of $500 to the Elevator Pitch contestants.

Trevor Hall, the director of the Kabara Institute, believes that the Elevator Pitch can help students of any major develop the skills and abilities to succeed after college.

“Students ask themselves, ‘How do I find a job? How do I network?’” said Hall. “With the Elevator Pitch Competition, they get to meet people and speak to people with conviction and strength. They learn how to make people want to hire them.”

The Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies was established by Dr. Jon Kabara, ’48, and his wife Betty in 2005. The institute aims to instill a passion for entrepreneurship in students, regardless of their major field of study and to provide opportunities for students to experience entrepreneurship first-hand.

“We want the Kabara Institute to be a resource for all students to explore the idea of being an entrepreneur,” said Hall. “No matter what your major is, entrepreneurial and innovative thinking benefits everyone.”

For more information about the Kabara Institute, the Business Plan Competition or the Elevator Pitch Competition, contact Teresa Speck ( or Trevor Hall (

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