An entrepreneur is a driver of innovation. Entrepreneurs add value to ideas that transform communities, improve systems, and create products or services that change the way we interact with our world and with each other. Their impact can be intellectual, cultural, social or financial. They come from a wide variety of professional sectors and a range of academic disciplines.
The Pitch is an entrepreneurial contest that will help one student bring his or her big idea to life. Students interested in participating in The Pitch will be supported at every stage of the entrepreneurial process, from idea generation to implementation. The winner will receive up to $10,000 toward transforming their idea into reality.
Submit a proposal, following the guidelines presented on the Application. If selected as a semi-finalist, you will be paired with a mentor with entrepreneurial experience to help strengthen your proposal. After a round of revision, the semi-finalists will be narrowed to five finalists who will participate in The Pitch for a chance to win up to $10,000.
"An ever-increasing percentage of our national net worth is in the form of human capital (currently 75 percent). This trend reflects the fact that it is the ideas that spring from individuals’ heads that are the wellsprings of progress. Entrepreneurs are at the core of bringing ideas to life and the Centennial Center has done a marvelous job in providing an opportunity, through the annual entrepreneurial proposal competition, for aspiring entrepreneurs at HWS to develop and pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. I have been proud to serve as a judge for this competition and have been impressed with the innovative ideas presented by talented HWS students."
- Dean Mark Zupan, Simon School of Business, University of Rochester
"I applaud Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and, particularly, the Centennial Center for Leadership, for creating this case competition. The need for creative entrepreneurship spans the for-profit and nonprofit sectors, and your student competitors clearly answered the call. I was deeply impressed by their ability to frame a problem, come up with a fresh, new solution, and then articulate their goals. These are the marks of the broadly educated! Congratulations on your inaugural event. I applaud Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and, particularly, the Centennial Center for Leadership, for creating this case competition. The need for creative entrepreneurship spans the for-profit and nonprofit sectors, and your student competitors clearly answered the call. I was deeply impressed by their ability to frame a problem, come up with a fresh, new solution, and then articulate their goals. These are the marks of the broadly educated! Congratulations on your inaugural event."
- Hollis S. Budd, Executive Director, Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation
"Several years ago, for the William Smith Centennial, I contributed to the fundraising effort of the Centennial Center. I was happy to do so but I am so pleased I could become involved on a personal level with leadership building on the college campus. Working as a mentor, I was able to help a student's idealistic dreams morph into a realistic business venture. Sara was open to advice, learning and molding her dreams so that they could become a reality. Sara worked incredibly hard on this project with several revisions but was able to absorb all the input from my advice, professor's information, and advisor's guidance. What a fabulous way to learn in college!"
- Dr. Deborah Pilla '76
This project began following a trip to Africa, where Sara worked at a glass blowing factory and with children at the Oloosirkon Government Primary School in Nairobi, Kenya. Designed to give back to the school children she met there, One Bead markets a bead. One half of the bead is thick and one is thin, which symbolizes having a lot versus having little. In the center of the bead is an “O,” representing the name of the school. The bead is made from recycled windows and bottles and is heated in a furnace that runs on old car fuel. It hangs on a piece of leather. Purchases of the bead acknowledge the desire to help another individual. All proceeds support the school. The beads cost $12 (roughly the cost of two lunches, a new book, or a trip to the movies). One Bead looks to establish itself as a sustainable non-profit organization to support education in Africa.