MHC’s entrepreneur competition hones pitches.

Woyneab Habte

By Keely Savoie

“Have you ever been to a really bad conference?” asked Hashma Shahid ’17. “What if there was a way for you to determine whether a conference is worth attending before you spend the $500 to register?”

Shahid was one of 16 aspiring entrepreneurs at the annual Pitch5 Competition. The presenters each had 90 seconds to persuade the judges, who were primarily local business leaders, that their idea could solve a need in the world—and that they were the person best suited to do it. The pitches ranged from personalizable single-sized ice cream cakes to helping feed communities in Sudan.

Shahid won second place for her pitch, an app that would enable conference-goers to rate events on five different metrics so that prospective attendees could then make informed choices.

First place went to Woyneab Habte ’17, for developing a print shop that provides alternative job opportunities for female college students in Ethiopia. Gerry Carolina Rivadeneira ’16 was the audience favorite, for her conflict resolution curriculum.

“It was wonderful to hear the breadth of the ideas and interests presented,” said Jo Martin, director of employment relations at the Career Development Center, who served as one of the judges.

The three winning students each left the contest with $500 prize money from the Lynk initiative, the College’s customized program that helps students connect their academic coursework to their career and life goals. First place also included free tuition to an online entrepreneurship development program and an opportunity to compete for the Harold Grinspoon Entrepreneurial Spirit Award.

“The idea is that we develop the skills needed to successfully launch new business ideas,” said Tamara Stenn, entrepreneurship coordinator and visiting lecturer in economics, who helped coordinate the event.

Find your big idea. Start here.