Bulldog B.I.T.E. Rewards Student Entrepreneurs

Alumni Doug (’94) and Diane (’95) Villhard presents checks to the winners of the Bulldog B.I.T.E. pitch competition. Pictured from the left: Danny Alter, Diane Villhard, Kailey Micek, Doug Villhard and William Fries.

Kailey Micek, a senior business administration marketing major, won the 2019 Bulldog B.I.T.E. elevator pitch competition.

As the winner, she earned a prize of $3,000 for her pitch of Buddy Button, a campus safety app.

William Fries, a senior computer science and business major, earned $2,000 for his pitch of the solid point mouse, technology to assist people with hand tremors use a computer more easily. Danny Alter, a senior accounting and finance major, finished third and won $1,000 for his pitch of a T-shirt company, GY6, with proceeds supporting veterans organizations.

An elevator pitch outlines the concept or idea for a product, service or project in a short period of time, typically from 30 seconds to three minutes. The length of the pitch mirrors the time spent waiting for and riding an elevator in a high-rise building. The purpose of the pitch is to spur the interest of a potential investor or financial backer.

Bulldog B.I.T.E., which stands for Business Innovation by Truman Entrepreneurs, allowed participants to pitch a for-profit or not-for-profit concept. The competition is funded through the Villhard Innovation Fund, which was created by Doug and Diane Villhard to stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship at Truman and has received gifts from both individual and corporate donors.

Judges selected six teams to attend the live pitch competition, April 12, in the Student Union Building to present their concept to a panel. Contestants were judged based on the problem, product/service solution, market, competition, value creation, seed money, a Q&A session and the presentation of the concept. The final round judges for Bulldog B.I.T.E. were Chris Geisert (’92), Lisa Miceli Standage (’04), Cody Sumter (’10), Dawn Tartaglione (’90) and Kevin Tibbs (’95). The first round judges for the competition were alumni Amy Gryder (’97) and Ron Thomas (’65).