news 9 1

The eAcademy held our end of the year pitch contest and student startup showcase on Sunday, May 15th at the Buhl Park Casino. Assistant City Manager of Hermitage, Gary Gulla, gave the welcoming remarks and introduced our keynote speaker, Brian Slawin, of Slawin Says and The Ben Franklin Technology PArtners. Slawin spoke to students about taking crazy ideas and turning them into successful businesses- you just have to get started!

Student startup teams then pitched their business plans and showcased their product prototypes to our local panel of judges: Brian Slawin, Director & Portfolio Manager with Ben Franklin Technology PArtners, Connor Grieb, Founder & President of SEO Vineyard, Sarah Palmer, Senior Vice President & Chief Lending Officer at Mercer County State Bank, Markee Juranovich, Sports/Recreation Coordinator & Administrative Assistant at Buhl Park, Zackary Smigel, Founder & Course Director of The Real Estate Wizard (as well as a 2015 eA alumni), and Tom Roberts, President & Executive Director of HopeCAT.

Based on four criteria, our student startup teams were scored by judges and we announced a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winner. Audience members also had an opportunity to vote on their Fan Favorite! Students were scored on the following:

1.Organizational Plan: The Startup Team has demonstrated they are logically structuring their business. Information in

this section may include: name of the company, logo, tagline, consistent slide design, mission statement, vision statement, values, company purpose/description, legal structure of the business, team members.

2. Marketing Plan: The Startup Team has demonstrated a connection between their product and their initial market choice. The problem exists, the solution fits the problem, and the industry has room for this idea.

3. Customer Plan: The Startup Team has demonstrated their product has value to their chosen target market and is different from what the customer is already doing to solve the problem. Several potential market segments exist, the value of the idea, different from the competition, will be communicated to the appropriate target customers. Actual people have commented on this idea.

4. Financial Plan: The Startup Team has demonstrated that the ability to make money exists. Information in this section may include: revenue model, key drivers of revenue and expenses, pricing strategy, and revenue projections for at least three years.

Our first place winner, The Countdown Collection, was awarded a check for $1,500.00 for the team and a $100.00 gift card for each team member.

First place winner: Countdown Collection

PowerPurse earned second place (as well as the Fan Favorite vote!) with a check for $1,000.00 and a $75.00 gift card to each team member.

Second place winner: PowerPurse

And, E-Binder took home third place with $500.00 for the team and a $50.00 gift card for each team member.

Third place winner: E-Binder

The FirstEnergy Foundation sponsored our event this year and helped ensure Demo Day was a successful event enjoyed by all. We cannot thank them enough for their generosity.