On Thursday, April 13, 2017, The College of Business and Technology at East Tennessee State University (ETSU) held their inaugural Innovative Buccaneer Competition (iBUCS) for students. The idea for the contest was developed and brought to life by Bill McTier and Stephen Hendrix, both professors with ETSU’s College of Business and Technology.
The competition was open to any undergraduate or graduate individual or team, with the requirement of at least one team member being from the College of Business and Technology. Eleven teams in total participated in the first round of the competition, where they each presented a three minute pitch of their business idea to a panel of six esteemed judges that morning.
Each of the six judges represented various backgrounds in the entrepreneurial environment of the Northeast Tennessee region. The judges were entrepreneurs Dave Clark and Tony Lettich (also a member of the Angel Roundtable); the Assistant Director of the Innovation Lab at ETSU, Liz Lewis; Professor of Business, Tom Moore; Director of Economic Development in Unicoi County, Tyler Engle; and our very own Director of AccelNow, John Campbell.
Following the first round of pitches, the judges narrowed the field down to just six teams to go on to the second round and present later that same day. The judges used a series of metrics to score different aspects of each team’s pitch, which they then used to make their decisions on who would be proceeding to the next round.
Teams were judged on everything from their executive summary to their product or service, to the actual pitch itself. They also rated other areas such as idea feasibility, market viability, marketing strategy, financials, and the teams’ preparedness when answering the judges questions.
For the second pitch of the day, the remaining six teams gave a longer, five minute pitch, which was followed by an eight minute question and answer session with the judges.
Three winners were selected from the final six teams. They were:
- 1st Place ($5,000 cash prize): Pick Up and Play – An app designed to help the user find connect with other people to participate in activities on the spur of the moment.
- 2nd Place ($3,000 cash prize): Chapel – An app for assisting in the handling of wedding arrangements to lower costs for the families involved.
- 3rd Place ($2,000 cash prize): Pick a Song – An app that matches a song to a photo or video through computer assisted technology.
The professors felt like this was a successful first event and they look forward to gearing up for an even bigger, better event next year. All of the judges were equally impressed with the quality of ideas and the entrepreneurial spirit of the students.
John Campbell had this to say about the event, “This kind of event by our region’s university truly accelerates the entrepreneurial environment we’re cultivating. We’re glad to have their support at the student level and look forward to partnering with and supporting their endeavors for years to come.”
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(ETSU logos courtesy of ETSU.)