The Greater Susquehanna KIZ will present the Third Annual Venture Plan Competition in conjunction with area universities Wednesday. The event will include students from Bloomsburg, Bucknell and Susquehanna universities as well as a student from Luzerne County Community College. The students will compete for cash prizes of $5,000 for first place, $2,500 for second place and $1,000 for third place.  The cash prizes are generously donated by Bucknell alumni and the development department.

Susquehanna University is hosting the event in the Degenstein Center. Sponsors are MVM Associates, PenTele Data, Swineford Bank and the UPS Store of Lewisburg.

The competition started with 18 teams that submitted business plans. Only nine were selected to go on to the presentation round. They are:  Let’s Make Whoopie, Lauren Elsasser of Susquehanna University; Rocky Road Stables, Melissa McHenry of Luzerne County Community College; Quick Serve, Andrew Milner of Bloomsburg University; Scribble Quilt, JD Hirst of Bucknell University; SoloSticks, LLC, DJ Rowe of Bucknell University; Trip Grip, Kirill Tumanov of Susquehanna University; Volunteer America, Anthony Maiorella of Susquehanna University; Xling, LLC, Austin Kevitch of Bucknell University; and Zoot-IT, LLC, Cory Bishop of Bucknell University.  

These students will present their business plans to a panel of nine judges made up of alumni from the partnering universities.  

“This year’s contestants were amazing, it was difficult to select from all of the teams that registered for the event.  This competition is encouraging innovation in our region and providing cash prizes to, in all hopes, provide some seed capital to actually get those businesses up and running,” said Kelly O’Brien Gavin. “As part of the prize package, the Greater Susquehanna KIZ will provide one year of free incubator space at the Bloomsburg Regional Technology Center and this year Bucknell has offered the same opportunity with their new incubator.”

The competition will take place all day long. The Venture Plan & KIZ Business Awards Dinner will be held beginning at 5 p.m. Susquehanna’s Degenstein Center, meeting rooms 3-5, during which the contestants will partake in another fun competition. The awards will be announced following dinner.

All those interested in attending must register online at www.gskiz.org/events.html.  Seating is limited and registration will be done on a first-come, first-serve basis.

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