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Jacksonville University’s Dolphin Pitch looks to bring ideas to reality

First came the Shark Tank. Now comes the Dolphin Pitch.

Jacksonville University recently hosted an “elevator pitch” competition to create an entrepreneurial spirit among students.

“One of our goals is to bring entrepreneurship across the campus. There’s not a major at any university that doesn’t have a business implication to it,” said Martin Luytjes, adjunct professor of business and faculty advisor for the Davis Entrepreneurship Organization, the student group that hosted the April 17 event.

Open to students from all majors, Dolphin Pitch drew 15 presenters, each of whom had three minutes and three slides to present their idea to a panel of judges comprised of local business leaders. Judges provided feedback and advice on how to further pursue the projects.

“The idea is to spark the imagination in what we can do,” Luytjes said. “Ideas are a dime a dozen but entrepreneurs take those ideas and run with them and try to bring them to life.”

The top three presenters also won prizes, with $500 for first, $300 for second and $100 for third. The winning presenters and ideas were as follows.

  • Alexandra Roberson-Dudley won first place for her idea for a My JU App, a mobile application that would connect students to the My JU student interface, which contains information such as class registration, homework, course syllabi, meal plans, and scholarship and financial aid details.
  • Robert Dougherty placed second with his plan for a business that would guarantee a 1 percent return per month on people’s investments. The business would then use Dougherty’s algorithm to generate a minimum return of 5 percent over the month, thereby earning a profit.
  • Herbert “Benton” Matthews finished third with his invention of an adjustable pallet rack for shipping containers. Shipping companies could use the adjustable rack to fit more freight in a trailer or container than they could with a traditional pallet rack.

Luytjes hopes to have even more presenters, attendees and perhaps judges at next year’s event. “Entrepreneurship on college campuses is really taking off because it’s about turning ideas into reality and students have so many great ideas,” he said.

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