Start-up ‘Cats: Students pitch potential businesses in K-State Launch competition

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On Wednesday, the College of Business Administration’s Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship held its fall K-State Launch competition, in which 10 teams pitched their businesses in the hopes of walking away with the grand prize.

Squire Gaming won the overall competition with a $2,000 prize and an invitation to represent the university at the Kansas Entrepreneurship Competition in the spring for a go at the $75,000 in prize money.

Teams Cattleist and Pet Potty Patch received honorable mentions, trophies and $1,000 prizes.

The teams that received $500 and trophies were Booner Schooner, Re-Shopable Apparel, CTZ Advertising, HERMES, 518 Crafting Company, Chill-Z and Quick-Quark.

The event challenges students to create a business and then pitch it in an executive summary.

With the competition open to all university students, a wide array of business ideas and schools are represented; this year, 80 teams participated in the beginning stage.

The launch competition is a biannual event designed by Chad Jackson, director of the Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship, that began in the fall of 2010. By 2012, the center added a spring competition as well.

“The whole point of doing it was how do we help students, not only learn about entrepreneurship, but then how do we recognize entrepreneurial talent,” Jackson said.

The 10 teams prepared a presentation to give a panel of four judges who grade each team by their originality, ability to answer questions and overall specificity of their business plan.

The winning team

Squire Gaming is a coaching platform that connects skilled video game players with others looking to increase their gaming skills. The idea came from Malik Bierberle, senior in construction science and management, and Paul Baker, senior in marketing.

“A coach uses our platform to connect with a player that is looking to improve,” Bierberle said.

When asked about the company’s inspiration, Baker described his passion for video games and how he and Bierberle noticed the current trend of esports.

“We just thought up the idea and kind of ran with it to go into this competition,” Baker said.

While Baker and Bierberle are competing in the KEC in the spring, they also plan to continue the company after.

“We’ll probably try and find some outside funding in order to get our app built,” Baker said.

What takes to be an entrepreneur

In closing remarks, Jackson highlighted the theme that was shared between all the finalists — grit. This grit, he said, is what makes all entrepreneurs who they are. They have the desire and determination to see their businesses succeed and will not let failure or challenges impede their process. He encouraged those who did not make it to the finals or did not receive the grand prize to enter the competition again.

“You’re going to get told ‘no’ from time to time,” Jackson said. “But entrepreneurs have the grit to keep fighting and to keep pushing to keep making things happen.”

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