NSU launching Inferno Pitch business model competition


NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University’s College of Business and Technology is launching the Inferno Pitch, a business model competition intended to provide students with practical experience in entrepreneurship and increase innovation commercialization in the region. Students will submit business models, attend business development workshops and finally pitch their concept to a panel of judges.


“We have been closely working with Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program (EAP), a division Biomedical Research Foundation (BRF), and we can finally announce that we are ready to launch the first Inferno Pitch this fall,” said Dr. Carmella Parker, business professor.  “The School of Business is looking forward to showcasing the talents of our business students.  We are hopeful that this test iteration of the competition will feature a few ideas that may become in the future the next Google or Facebook.”


“The concept is that of a mini Shark Tank, with a model designed for students to present an idea and pitch it to a group of investors and get prize money for first, second or third prize,” said Dr. Margaret Kilcoyne, College dean.  “Students who win will get cash and the opportunity to work with a patent attorney, marketing specialists and others.”


“If a student has an idea, this will guide them through the process of developing and eventually monetizing their idea and legally protecting their idea,” said Parker, who added that the competition was inspired by NSU’s business administration concentration in entrepreneurship.  “People learn when they have to apply concepts to a relevant real-world experience. The process will give students the opportunity to network with industry experts, collaborate with other students, earn scholarships and see their business idea develop from concept to commercialization.”


The competition is free to enter and is currently only open to students in NSU’s College of Business and Technology, including online students.  However, administrators hope to eventually open the competition to both students and faculty across campus. Students may apply as individuals are submit an application as a team.


Phase 1, the application phase, opens Aug. 20 and will close at 11:55 p.m. Sept. 28.  Students will submit their ideas for a product, service or new technology that can be transformed into a scalable business.


In Phase 2, qualifying applicants will be invited to attend a business development workshop from 1-3 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16 where analysts and industry experts will provide training and coaching. After refining their submission, applicants will submit final packets that include a lean canvas, executive summary, financial summary and PowerPoint Presentation. Final submissions are due Friday, Nov. 2.


In Phase 3, finalists for the pitch competition will be announced Tuesday, Nov. 7.  The Inferno Pitch will begin at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13 when the top five participants or teams will pitch their business model to a panel of judges in a seven-minute presentation with a five-minute question and answer follow-up.


“This is the beta, a competition for students to network and possibly win money,” Kilcoyne said.  “They will learn that there are investors with a desire to develop businesses here in Louisiana and create job opportunities.  We hope to create an entrepreneurial spirit at NSU and we hope it will be a long-standing project.”


For more information on the Inferno Pitch, visit infernopitch.com.  For information on NSU’s College of Business and Technology, visit business.nsula.edu.