The Pechter Business Plan Competition - Penn State Altoona

The Pechter Business Plan Competition

Penn State Altoona’s Pechter Business Plan announces winners

Former Pechter Plan Winners
Former Pechter Plan Winners
Former Pechter Plan Winners

Penn State Altoona students earned cash awards as winners of Penn State Altoona’s Pechter Business Plan Competition, held Friday, May 2, 2014, during the Gown Meets Town Student Showcase event at the Devorris Downtown Center in Altoona.

The competition, established by Penn State Altoona benefactor Shirley Pechter, consists of a four-phase process for students to take ideas from concept through a feasibility study/market analysis to a full business plan. The students work on their plans in the business incubator at the Sheetz Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence, creating detailed descriptions of their business concepts, potential market, and likely competitors. Local business leaders judged the competition, basing their evaluations on the feasibility of the proposed businesses, the business overviews, and presentations.

Michael Black took the third place prize of $1,000 for his business Acemark. Matthew Adams, Wes Faulkner, Chris Nelson, Justin Shuhayda, Kristina Snyder, and Mackenzie Sternberg won second place and $2,500 for their EZ-Tilt Hand Truck. Timothy Baroni, Andrew Bean, Caleb Bowser, Daniel Finelli, Brittany Gill, and Michael Hicks won first place and $5,000 for Railroad City Automation.


The Pechter Business Plan Competition provides a process for students to turn great ideas into great businesses. Competitions encourage students to form interdisciplinary teams, to take ideas from the concept phase, through a feasibility study/market analysis to a full business plan, and to build a new venture. These competitions are designed for students across all programs at Penn State Altoona, and welcome the participation of students not enrolled in the entrepreneurial or business curriculum. Student teams receive extensive feedback and receive written comments from judges.

Please check back for the schedule.

Pechter Business Plan Competition Overview
Phase 1 - Pitch It Phase 2 - Pursue It Phase 3 - Plan It Phase 4 - Present It
3 Minute Business Concept Executive Summary Presentation. Judges and Business Community. Finalists awarded incubator space and move on to Full Business Plan Phases Full Business Plan submitted for Judges’ review. Finalists present at Gown Meets Town Event. Judges announce awards.
Registration Deadline: November 15, 2014 Presentation Date:
December 12, 2014
Submission Deadline:
April 17, 2015
Event Date:
May 1, 2015

Competition Timeline

Phase 1: Pitch It

  • Registration Deadline — November 15, 2014
  • Presentations

Phase 2: Pursue It

  • December 12, 2014 – Judges and Business Community At Gown Meets Town Event
    Finalists Announced/Incubator Space Awarded

Phase 3: Plan It

  • Business Plan Due — April 17, 2015

Phase 4: Present It

  • Business Plan Finalists Present — May 1, 2015 – Judges & Business Community Gown Meets Town Event
    Winners and Awards Announced!

Phase 1: Pitch It

Requirements: Brief Business Concept – 3 minutes

Phase 1 is encourages teams to develop and submit business concepts for evaluation. Business concepts are presented, reviewed and critiqued by a judge with entrepreneurial experience, but are neither scored nor ranked against each other. The judge’s feedback allows teams to further develop their business concept into a business plan for the following competitive phases.

Phase 2: Pursue It

Requirements: Executive Summary

As the first competitive phase, Phase 2 requires students to submit a more detailed description of the business concept, its potential market, and likely competitors. Venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and industry experts, who rank the feasibility of the proposed businesses, read these business overviews and judge the presentations. At the end of Phase 2, finalists are selected and awarded space in the Sheetz Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence Business Incubator. The finalists will then move on to the next two phases of the Pechter Business Plan Competition.

Phase 3: Plan It

Requirements: Full Business Plan

Phase 3 requires the finalists to describe their concepts in a full business plan. The process of putting together a full business plan encourages students to detail all aspects of launching, growing, and managing a new venture. The judges will review and offer feedback on each submission. The finalists then prepare for Phase 4, which is the presentation of their full business plan to judges and the business community.

Phase 4: Present It

Requirements: Presentation before judges and business community

This premier event is a unique opportunity for the finalists to present their business plans to distinguished judges, who will select the winners. The Finals will attract an audience of venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, industry specialists, attorneys, local business leaders, alumni, students, and media representatives. All finalist teams make a live interactive presentation to convince the panel of judges of their business’s viability. After these presentations, the judges adjourn and deliberate. The entire audience convenes for lunch followed by the awards ceremony of cash and in-kind awards!