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Baker College students take two of three top spots in Muskegon Elevator Pitch Competition

MUSKEGON, Mich. – Baker College students again represented the Muskegon campus well, winning second and third places, at the 2016 Elevator Pitch Competition for college and high school students, Dec. 8, at Muskegon Community College.

Marketing major Tracy Stremus, of Montague, won second place and $750 with her pitch for a mobile beauty salon, “Beauty Bus.”

Taking third place was La Antonette Anderson, a business major from Muskegon Heights, with a pitch for an after-school program, “Muskegon’s Kids of Character.” She was awarded a $500 prize.

Linda Meyers, program director of marketing, entrepreneurship and human resources management at Baker College of Muskegon, said the competition is about helping students develop the skills necessary to be successful in business.

“It can be quite intimidating to present in front of judges, family and friends,” she said. “I credit everyone who competed. Some won money to further investigate starting a business, but all accomplished a big step toward becoming business professionals.”

Meyers noted that an elevator pitch is basically an executive summary of the presenter and their proposed business that sells the business, product or service. Students who participate in the event are honing their skills to create just such a selling tool that they’ll be able to use no matter where they ultimately work.

Elevator Pitch competitors had two minutes — about the time it takes to ride an elevator — to pitch an idea, product, service or business before a panel of judges. No props or presentation slides were allowed. Students were evaluated on the quality of their presentations: how well they got the attention of the judges, understood their competition, and clearly defined their idea, its unique features, benefits and market.

Most of the ideas for the proposed businesses were solutions to problems the students identified in their own experiences. For example, Stremus is a hairstylist and has provided services to many bridal parties in cramped locations because everyone wants to be together on that joyous day. Her Beauty Bus provided an alternative to an uninviting environment.

Stremus and Anderson competed against other students from Baker College as well as from Muskegon Community College, Grand Valley State University and area high schools. The competition was coordinated by the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce along with Baker College of Muskegon and MCC.

“Tracy and La Antonette exemplify the entrepreneurial spirit that drives innovation,” said Lee Coggin, J.D., Baker College of Muskegon president. “Investing the time and energy to make a new business thrive is at the core of each successful enterprise, and these students are off to a great start on their careers.”

Event sponsors included the coordinating organizations and Start Garden, Hines Corp., Nichols, Eagle Alloy Inc. and Grand Valley State University’s Muskegon Innovation Hub.

For information about Baker College’s entrepreneurship program, contact Kathy Jacobson in the admissions office at 231.777.5200 or kathy.jacobson@baker.edu, or visit the Baker College website, www.baker.edu.

The largest private college in Michigan, Baker College is a not-for-profit higher education institution accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Founded in 1911, Baker College grants doctoral, master’s, bachelor’s and associate degrees, as well as certificates in diverse academic fields including applied technology, business, education, engineering, health science, information technology and social science. Baker College has on-ground campuses throughout Michigan and offers online programs that can be completed 100 percent online without ever visiting a campus. In 2016, the Online Learning Consortium recognized Baker College Online with the OLC Quality Scorecard Exemplary Endorsement, the highest ranking for online higher education programs. For information, visit www.baker.edu or follow Baker College on Twitter, @bakercollege, or on Facebook, www.facebook.com/bakercollege.

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