Perdue School of Business

Entrepreneurship Competitions

Important Dates & News

  • Now: Thu Apr 30 09:21:07 EDT 2015
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  • 4-30-2015 09:21 AM
  • April 30, 2015 9:21:07 AM EDT
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Important Dates

Information Sessions - Professor Burke

None scheduled at this time.

Training Sessions - SBDC J. Hickman

We have scheduled 2 more opportunities for training!

Tuesday, April 7 and 14, 2015
3:30 PM - 4:30 PM
PH 362 Classroom

Online Submission Opens (March 6th @ 8am - through April 20 at 11:59 pm):  Submission link on Competition Forms & Links Page

This is a four part submission:

  1. Profile: contact information & group members  (please fill out this section asap so we can get an idea of number of participants for set-up)
  2. Business Plan Submission - approx. 700 words/section or 5000 words total for all sections.
  3. Supplemental Uploads 3MB Maximum
  4. Poster Upload - 10MB Maximum

This can be filled out at any time and updated until April 20, 2015 at 11:59 pm.  Good Luck to everyone!

Coaching Sessions TBA.
These will be on a first come first served basis or you can contact professor Burke at to set up another time if you can not make it.

Competition - May 8, 2015 in Perdue Hall.

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2014 Perdue Entrepreneurship Competitions Award Nearly $60K


Student Competitors

SALISBURY, MD---The proverb, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again,” rings true for entrepreneurial-minded students at Salisbury University.

Last year, management major Nick Simpson earned $3,000 in the Franklin P. Perdue School of Business’ Entrepreneurship Competitions when he premiered Bounce, an app designed to connect nightlife businesses and consumers.

But that wasn’t good enough. Simpson wanted to win the grand prize, the $10,000 Bernstein Award, to support the venture.

So the Ellicott City native and his business partner, Ryan Nuzum, a West Virginia University graduate, worked for the past year to improve their plans.

The efforts paid off. They won some $15,600 in cash and consulting services during SU’s 2014 Entrepreneurship Competitions.

“We weren’t just in it for the contest; we really cared about the judges’ feedback,” said Simpson, now a senior. “The advice you get is so valuable, and we already have about five follow-up meetings planned with contacts we made.”

He said the Bounce team, which also includes SU students Laura Thornburg and Nick Giambra, and Allen Butler of Longwood University, hopes to continue working on app development and programming over the summer and then move into beta testing.

SU alumnus Kevin Bernstein ’92, vice president of strategy at LWRC International in Cambridge, was one of three judges for the Bernstein Award, the portion of the competition that for more than a quarter century has been supported by his father, Richard, a 1976 SU graduate and the founder of companies including K&L Microwave, Inc. in Salisbury.

“When my father started his businesses, he didn’t have this kind of program and this kind of opportunity to be mentored,” Bernstein said. “You have to leverage this environment ... and take chances.”

Overall, student competitors walked away with nearly $60,000 in cash, services and prizes, including 30 earned awards and eight raffles.

“What I saw is focus,” said judge Mike Cottingham, president/CEO of Rommel Holdings. “You were poised; you were polished. You explained why SU is a rising university and the Perdue School is a rising business school.”

The day started with an “Invest in My Idea” poster session in Perdue Hall’s Atrium and first floor. After review by some 29 judges, 15 teams advanced, earning $600 each and a spot in the second round “Gull Cage.” This Shark Tank-style event involved one-minute pitches, followed by four minutes of rapid-fire questions from judges.

Senior management major Jason Rogewitz of Salisbury called the experience “nerve wracking,” adding, “it’s fast; the clock is ticking.” His UrBowl pasta shop business partner Chris Himberger, a sophomore accounting/finance major from Bethpage, NY, said: “You want to answer questions effectively, but at the same time you want to answer as many questions as possible.”

All Gull Cage prizes again were provided by supporter Warren Citrin, co-founder of Solipsys, Gloto, Redox Power Systems and fractograf.

First place and $4,000 went to Bounce, while second place and $3,000 went to FedXmas, a Christmas tree delivery service proposed by another returner, Brendan Guihen, a junior communication arts major from Silver Spring, along with Imoleayo Alabi, a junior finance major from Salisbury. UrBowl earned third place and $2,000; fourth place and $1,000 went to Werk, LLC, a part-time job website proposed by freshmen Aaron Wall, Kyle Cooper, Peter Baum and Matthew Lange.

These four Gull Cage winners then moved on to present their full business plans during the afternoon Bernstein competition.

Judge Steve Evans, CEO of Allen Harim Foods, apologized to all the competitors for asking some of the tough questions they faced, but, he emphasized, that’s how “you get better.” He added: “We are extremely impressed. You get a lot of real experience here and that’s what you need.”

Several special awards were distributed at the event, including two new $5,000 “best product” prizes provided by Bob Livingston of Dover Corporation and Dave Howett of K&L Microwave. Presented after the poster competition, they went to a glass company proposed by Phillip Valencia, a senior management major from Salisbury, and Chesapeake BIOFuel, created by Lori Defnet, a senior accounting major from Poolesville, with Richard Baldwin, a senior management major from Berlin. Defnet and Baldwin also earned $3,000 in services from Mark Leisher Productions.

The Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce and Salisbury-Wicomico Economic Development also awarded $5,000 in services including consulting and rent-free space to ADarchy, LLC, proposed by Jonathan Pilchard, a senior accounting major from Salisbury and his business partner, Trey Mullady.

The Werk team, as the second place Bernstein Award winner, also earned $1,500 cash and an additional $3,500 in consulting from Maryland Capital Enterprises, as well as a membership to, the Eastern Shore’s first co-working space, from the Eastern Shore Entrepreneurship Center (ESEC).

Competition judges included many SU graduates, past winners and Perdue School Executive Advisory Council members who are successful entrepreneurs and executives at regional and national companies and organizations.

They also represented some of the event’s sponsors, which at the Gold level included Bank of America, Burbage Properties, Inc., ESEC, First Shore Federal, Gillis Gilkerson Inc., Layton’s Chance Vineyard & Winery, Leverage Mobile, Sherwood of Salisbury, TEDCO and Yard Designs, Inc. Silver sponsors were Pohanka of Salisbury and Comprehensive Financial Solutions; bronze sponsors were Chesapeake Utilities and the Strategic Wealth Management Group.

Other donations and prizes came from ACE Hardware, A.I.R. Lawn Care, Burley Oak Brewing Company, Caroline Economic Development Corporation, fractograf, J.L. Wilson, McFadden Art Glass, the Paper People and Tri-Dimension.

Thanks to all our sponsors for helping to make our 2014 competition so successful.  We appreciate both your time and your donations!  If you are interstested in being a donor next year please follow the following link for more information.

For more information or to become involved next year, contact William Burke, competition director and Perdue School professor, at 410-677-5386 or, or visit

Perdue Hosts ABC's SHARK TANK Open Casting Call on May 9, 2014

SALISBURY, Md. - From things that light up, to a sling to carry your pup, and how about body armor inspired by Iron Man! 

"The original model had swords that came out of the bottom," says designer JeanPaul Badjo, a senior at UMES.  Luckily, he couldn't travel with the swords (or flame thrower). 

Nearly 200 entrepreneurs made their way to Salisbury University Friday, for the chance to pitch their business ideas on ABC's hit show Shark Tank!  

Why Delmarva?  Casting manager Mindy Zemrak, says, why not? "You can go to a small town and you can have a great big company or idea that's happening there," says Zemrak.

Rick Long from Prince Georges County,Maryland is hoping to make bank with his Fishoff Gloves.

"Grab your fish, release it, or whatever you do with it, and then your hands are clean and safe, right back to your rod, right back to the wheel," says Long.

The reality show features would-be entrepreneurs, pitching business ideas to a panel of potential investors, or "sharks."

Shannon's Gourmet Bakery from Baltimore is confident her cookies will go a long way.

And SU grad Robin Jenks Vanderlip believes her company My Great Garden is more than just a money maker; it's a chance to empower people with disabilities.   

"I want to create a franchise model that allows them to have their own business, and we would manage the schedule, the training, and collection of money," says Vanderlip.

Gardening helped her heal after a crippling brain injury left the woman mute, after hitting her head years ago.

Now, she creates custom vegetable gardens for other people.

So, what's the biggest tip from the people doing the picking?  According to Zemrak, "know your numbers, and have a lot of energy and passion about what it is you're bringing into The Tank."

The entrepreneurs who made it past Friday's audition will go through a few more rounds before potentially making it in front of the Sharks for a taping.

Anyone who does make it that far would tape in September and the season will run until May 2015.

We also just found out that our casting call had record numbers today.

There were almost 200 people that came out, the highest a Shark Tank casting has ever seen. 

Folks at today's tryout also have the option to be featured in 47 ABC's $4,000 "Delmarva's Choice Web Competition".

 They'll submit a video pitch, to be posted on our website, and visitors can pick a winner.  That contest starts on May 19th

Link to news video:

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