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March 6, 2020

Burgess New Venture Challenge announces second annual semifinalists

The Burgess New Venture Challenge, or BNVC, announced its 2020 semifinalists. Fifteen student teams representing nine colleges and the graduate school will compete for $42,000 in total prizes.

The business model and pitch competition will shine the spotlight on top early-stage student ideas, startups and social ventures. The second annual event promises to draw entrepreneurs, venture capitalists,and supporters of startups from across Michigan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and beyond.

The BNVC finalists will pitch their ideas to a panel of expert judges on Tuesday, March 24, 2020, at the Jackson and Christman Lounges, Wharton Center for the Performing Arts in East Lansing. The competition’s top prize, sponsored by the Michigan State University Federal Credit Union, is $15,000.

“The Burgess New Venture Challenge is more than a competition,” said Ken Szymusiak, the Burgess Institute’s managing director of academic programs. “Our goal is to create an unparalleled learning experience for our students.”

The competition requires prospective student applicants to complete a battery of workshops, craft a plan, receive feedback from business leaders and alumni mentors,and form collaborative teams around their submitted ideas.

Paul Jaques, the Burgess Institute’s managing director of venture creation, has been helping Michigan State University students build their businesses for nearly a decade.

“We wanted to create a program where students refine their ideas while building their skills and taking interesting risks that lead to real-world innovations,” said Jaques. “Ultimately, the Burgess New Venture Challenge celebrates a year of dedicated, hard work for these semifinalists.” 

Burgess New Venture Challenge’s 2020 Finalists

Brendan Wang, Eli Broad College of Business; Jake Roach, Eli Broad College of Business.

Eric Klinefelter, College of Engineering.

Erudis Games
Joey Dearing, College of Arts & Letters

Fylm TV
Clay Conover, College of Arts & Letters; Malik Jackson College of Engineering.

Good Mood Food
Brianna Belanger, College of Social Science.

GrandStand Music Festival
Kayla Green, College of Music.*

Mary Ensch, College of Engineering*; Lexi Rogien, College of Engineering*; Moh Alhaj, College of Engineering.*

Amanda Miner, Eli Broad College of Business; Kathryne Rojeck, College of Natural Science; Olivia Miller, Eli Broad College of Business; Jackie Smythe, Eli Broad College of Business.

Max Plotnick, Eli Broad College of Business; Michael Monticciolo, College of Engineering.

Mohammed Alkharouby, College of Engineering; Aziz Alsaeed, MIS, University of Tampa.

Traverse Jurcisin, College of Agriculture & Natural Resources; Josh Murray (Fall 2019), College of Engineering; Jonathan Ristola (Fall 2019), College of Engineering, College of Law*

Picture It
James Hamer, Eli Broad College of Business.

Starforged Studios
Rebecca Roman, College of Communication Arts and Sciences; Anthony Froman, College of Engineering.

Dajheonna Perry, College of Communication Arts and Sciences.

Jonathan Ristola (Fall 2019), College of Engineering, College of Law*; Christabelle Dozeman, College of Law.*

*Indicates competitor is a graduate student at Michigan State University.

By: Aaryn Richard

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