Carl H. Lindner College of BusinessCarl H. Lindner College of BusinessUniversity of Cincinnati

Carl H. Lindner College of Business

July Update- UC Student Teams Bring New Business Ideas to Life in New Venture Competition

Friday, July 7, 2017 2:46 PM
UC students compete in a series of contests including: an elevator pitch and new venture plan presentation to a group of judges from Cincinnati’s start-up community.

Do entrepreneurial leaders like Steve Jobs of Apple, Elon Musk of Tesla or Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook inspire you?

Have you ever dreamed of starting your own business? 

Have you ever thought of a unique or creative idea to make people’s lives better?    

If you answered yes to any of these you should check out UC’s New Venture competition.

Students in UC’s New Venture Planning class (ENTR 5070) are given the opportunity to engage in a hands-on, team based learning experience.  Students are given the freedom to select their own teams where they compete in not only developing a new business idea but also creating a comprehensive business plan to bring their idea to market.  Students compete in a series of contests including: an elevator pitch and new venture plan presentation to a group of judges from Cincinnati’s start-up community. They also submit a formal written business plan, which draws upon their learning from various business functional disciplines e.g. Marketing, Finance, Accounting, Management, and more!

Students from the spring class of 2017 had the opportunity to learn first-hand from numerous subject matter experts and  successful entrepreneurs from the Cincinnati start-up community.  The leader of the course, Professor Greg Lechner, has led several start-up ventures in retailing and ecommerce in addition to leading new business ventures for global eyewear leaders, Luxottica and Essilor.

Other expert speakers and executive mentors included:

-        Ryan Eder -- UC DAAP graduate and founder of Include Fitness which provides fitness technology to enhance physical therapy outcomes and lower costs. Ryan shared his insights on how to effectively present your business plan to potential investors

-        Larry Kavanagh -- founder of Navistone which provides marketers with the ability to identify the name and address of anonymous visitors to their website. Larry addressed best practices in building effective start-up teams and organizations

-        Eric Fulkerth --founder of Campus Suite which provides website technology for educational institutions.  Eric shared his experience in writing an effective business plan

-        Robert Lesan -- attorney at KMK law, shared key legal issues that impact new ventures  and highlighted key legal implications for each of the student teams.

-        Glen Clevenger -- from the Small Business Association, shared his insights on various fundraising options available to start-ups.

-        Additionally, the following business experts were recruited to serve as mentors and judges for the class: Dennis Reinersman  and Karla Boldery from Hamilton County Development Center, Bob Petrik from Queen City Angels and Cathy Scruggs, COO/CFO for Summit Innovation Labs


These experts/mentors provided student teams with valuable feedback and recommendations throughout the business development/planning process.  Barry Schwartz, a student team leader from the class, commented: “I enjoyed learning from the experiences of experts in the community.  Their feedback was very helpful and supportive as much of the feedback was customized to our individual needs and business idea.”

The winning team from the Spring 2017 competition was, an online website that connects skilled workers with manufacturing companies seeking skilled labor (e.g. welding, carpentry, masonry, plumbing, electricity, etc.).   Skilled labor positions have become increasingly difficult for manufacturers to fill in recent years and problem is growing. One of the key factors in the team’s success was teamwork.  According to team member Molly Hinken, "The most enjoyable aspect of this class was experiencing a team of diverse individuals come together to achieve a common goal. Each teammate had a different major / background which contributed to our success. I thoroughly enjoyed learning from my teammates with different majors, such as finance, marketing, operations, entrepreneurship etc., and I know that the skills I learned from them will be valuable in the future.”

According to Professor Lechner, “Being part of the New Venture course and competition exposes students to experiential learning opportunities that can potentially change the trajectory of their career after graduation. The course is designed for students to develop skills and knowledge that will enable them to become effective entrepreneurs and/or members of entrepreneurial teams in corporations and government.  It’s gratifying that a significant percentage of students continue to pursue their new business idea after graduation.  For those that choose to pursue other opportunities, they still gain valuable skills, such as, teamwork, research, critical thinking, communications and leadership, which are highly valued and sought after in today’s job market.”