Wright State University students with promising ideas for a new business will compete for startup funds during Wright Venture, the annual entrepreneur competition hosted by the Raj Soin College of Business.
The finals of Wright Venture will take place Thursday, March 19, at 3 p.m. in the Rike Hall Lobby. The event is open to the campus community and the public. More information is available at wright.edu/wrightventure.
Students in the Raj Soin College of Business, Computer Science and Engineering and the College of Liberal Arts are participating in this year’s competition.
Wright Venture is an entrepreneurial competition modeled after “Shark Tank,” a reality TV series that features aspiring entrepreneurs making business presentations to a panel of potential investors.
Wright Venture encourages students to consider taking on the role of entrepreneur by providing instruction for starting a business and bringing their idea to life, said Thomas Traynor, dean of the Raj Soin College of Business. The goal, he said, is “to encourage entrepreneurial thinking, entrepreneurial action.”
During the Wright Venture finals, students present their business ideas to a panel of experienced entrepreneurs, called Wolves, who provide feedback on each business plan. The winner of Wright Venture is awarded $5,000 in startup funding.
Past winners have included plans for a water purification kit that uses filters to kill bacteria and purify water; a gym bag designed to organize clothing and belongings; and Galatune, a strategy card game.
The goal of Wright Venture is to create a real experience similar to an actual business startup. This experience includes networking, mentorship, creative idea development, product design, service creation, financial management, business planning and marketing skills, offered free by Wright State faculty, staff, and local and regional sponsors.
Leading up to the finals, students participate in a series of workshops to help them learn about business planning, finance, marketing and business operations. Workshops are led by Jordan Roe, ESP venture manager at the Entrepreneur Center of Dayton; Kim Woodbury, director of the Ohio Small Business Development Center; Charles Gulas, professor of marketing at Wright State; and Mary Beth Reser, partner at M.Path.
Damian Langstaff, an entrepreneurship major and president of the Entrepreneurship Club, said the workshops provide important information for Wright Venture participants. Students learn how to make their business come to life and how to act on their idea, he said.
“Each one of these workshops covers those necessary components,” he said.
Watching the finals can also inspire students who are interested in entrepreneurship or who may want to compete in Wright Venture in the future.
“It can make them realize how feasible starting a business can be,” Traynor said. “It takes some of the mystery out of entrepreneurship.”
Through Wright Venture, the entrepreneurship program and other opportunities, said Kendall Goodrich, chair of the Department of Marketing and advisor of the Entrepreneurship Club, Wright State encourages students to bring innovations to life.
“It’s celebrating the innovative spirit of the Wright brothers,” he said, “and that’s one of the things that we should be known for.”
Funding for the Wright Venture program is provided by the James Family Entrepreneurship Program and Scene75.