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  • Entrepreneurship Students Earn Awards at KY Pitch Competition

April 21, 2023

On Sunday April 2, 2023 at the KY Pitch competition, two Midway University student teams competed and walked away with honors and prizes. The KY Pitch competition is open to all Kentucky post-secondary colleges and universities. This year, 16 teams from 7 schools participated. 

One Midway student team won the overall Exploratory Track for their pitch of Helix Headgear. This honor comes with a $5,000 prize. The team’s business model focused on a problem-solution concept linked to the comfort, fit, and performance of wrestling headgear. As part of the competition the group had to submit a business model, a two-minute pitch video and present a 7-minute live pitch to judges and an audience. The Helix Headgear pitch team included students Chris Alvizures, Anthony Caruso, Jacob Kocis, and Andrew Vogeler. John (Daylon) Stafford is also a team member but was unable to join the pitch because he was called to a Kentucky National Guard drill.

Team member Jacob Kocis said “winning the KY Pitch competition showed me that anybody with a good idea and the work ethic to nurture it can start a business. Acquiring financial support and practical feedback from high-level professionals made me realize that Helix Headgear could be much more than just an idea."

Andrew Vogeler added “winning the KY Pitch competition gifted me with the opportunity to give back to a sport that has given so much to me.” And Christopher Alvizures said, 

"We now have a chance to make an impact on a sport that will benefit all participants."

Midway’s second team won Runner-up for Video Pitch/Storytelling about their IHSA Show Manager idea. This award came with a $500 prize. This team’s pitch was centered on developing an electronic, convenient scoring software for horse show competitions. The IHSA Show Manager team included students Madelyn Matz and Elisma (Liz) Stoltz.

KY Pirch Runnerup 2023

All students competing are currently taking BUS427 Entrepreneurship taught by Dr. Jeb Gorham, Associate Professor of Sport Management & Botkin Professor. This class focuses on working with students to develop an entrepreneurial mindset and creates opportunities for the exploration of business ideas and models. Students learn to work through several idea generation processes and if their idea sticks, they can dedicate time to applying for pitch competitions at the local, regional, state and even national level.

“The work these students have put in during class and after hours has been tremendous,” said Dr. Jeb Gorham, Associate Professor of Sport Management. “Competitions such as KY Pitch give our students a sample of the real-world and take what they are learning in the classroom to a professional setting in order to showcase their understanding of entrepreneurial ecosystems.”

This was the first time Midway has seen teams selected to pitch at the state level. In the past Dr. Gorham led a Sustainable Ventures Program in Vermont where he and students had great success with pitch competitions and were invited to five national competitions and competed in multiple regional pitches. 

More About KY Pitch 

The KY Pitch competition is designed to inspire innovators and entrepreneurs by providing an inclusive platform for our future leaders to develop and pursue their ideas. Students from Kentucky’s post-secondary colleges and universities are given an opportunity to pitch their business or idea stage concept to a large audience composed of investors, community leaders, and the public. Companies that demonstrate innovation and the promise to be a successful venture that will create future jobs for Kentuckians will be rewarded with prize money and business support.