The Pechter Business Plan Competition

Penn State Altoona’s Pechter Business Plan competition yields two first place teams

ALTOONA – Five students earned cash awards as winners of Penn State Altoona’s Pechter Business Plan Competition, held Friday, April 26, 2013, during the Gown Meets Town Student Showcase event at the Devorris Downtown Center in Altoona.

Based on the quality of the business plans and presentations, the judges presented two first-place awards. The winning teams Jimmy Coonan and John Radan of J&J Transitions and Brittany Gill and Kristina Snyder of Majestic Grounds. Each team received $5,000. The third-place winner of $1,000 was Cody Stitt of Earthrealm Paintball. The awards will be used as seed money for students to start their businesses. Students also receive in-kind awards of legal and accounting services from Attorney Jeff Fleming, Attorney J. Benjamin Yeager and Rex Kaup, CPA.

The Business Plan competition was established by Penn State Altoona benefactor Shirley Pechter. The 2013 awards were made possible through the generosity of Tom and Nikki Lucas and Steve and Nancy Sheetz.

The competition consisted 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 worked 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 Steve Sheetz, Colleen Devorris, Al Masood and Ryan Sheetz judged the competition, basing their evaluations on the feasibility of the proposed businesses, the business overviews, and presentations. Pechter and Steve Sheetz presented the awards to the students following the competition.

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.

Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3 Phase 4
Pitch It Pursue It Plan It 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, 2013 Presentation Date:
December 13, 2013
Submission Deadline:
April 16, 2014
Event Date:
May 2, 2014

Competition Timeline

Phase 1: Pitch It
Registration Deadline November 15, 2013
Phase 2: Pursue It
December 13, 2013 – Judges & Business Community At Gown Meets Town Event
Finalists Announced/Incubator Space Awarded
Phase 3: Plan It
Business Plan Due April 16, 2014
Phase 4: Present It
Business Plan Finalists Present May 2, 2014 – 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!