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ADA – East Central University’s Entrepreneurship program continues to ascend on the world stage, boasting the most students in an upcoming global pitch competition.

Seven of the 110 international competitors selected for the 2020 Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO) Virtual Pitch Competition are ECU students. They were chosen from more than 300 applicants representing 151 global campuses. No other institution of higher learning had more selected competitors than ECU.

ECU Entrepreneur students competing include Stephanie Black, of Wewoka; Logan Carter, of Shawnee; Gineka Ferguson, of Nassau, Bahamas; Fredeshia Neely, also of Nassau; Jordan Odell, of Asher; David Tahchawwickah, of Sasakwa; and Zoe Tanner, of Hugo.

“I am very excited to work with this group of students as they move forward with their entrepreneurial ideas,” said Dr. Stacey Bolin, director of ECU’s Wilburn L. Smith Center for Entrepreneurship. “The students’ ideas are timely and realistic with a high potential for success in this competition and beyond. Their ideas range from alternative energy to mental and physical health support for those affected by isolation.”

ECU’s Entrepreneur students will go toe-to-toe with competitors from distinguished schools such as Duke, Stanford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Some competitors hail from as far away as Africa, India and Israel. Students will compete for a share of $15,000 in seed money offered as prizes for the top finishers.

“When Carol Smith started the Wilburn L. Smith Center for Entrepreneurship at ECU, we knew great things would happen for our students from her gift,” said Dr. Katricia Pierson, ECU president. “That belief is proving true as we see ECU Tigers competing on the international stage. The Center for Entrepreneurship also allows us to attract high-caliber faculty such as Dr. Bolin and Dr. Andrew Honeycutt who have helped prepare our students to take their places alongside students from large research universities.”

The virtual pitch competition is part of CEO’s Virtual Global Conference on November 6-7, 2020. The conference, hosted virtually by the University of Tampa in Florida, has been themed “Innovate Forward into the Unknown.” A series of competitive rounds in October will advance the top 20 pitch competitors toward a virtual finals appearance at the conference.

Phases of the competition are: 1) Business Concept, a two-paragraph narrative of the student’s venture; 2) Business Model, a narrative/graphic display of the business model canvas; 3) Pitch Video, a 90-second video; and 4) Pitch Deck, a one-year launch plan and a three-to-five slide pitch presentation. Judging begins November 2.

“The Entrepreneurship program at ECU is recognized as one of the top in the nation,” said Wendell Godwin, dean of the Stonecipher School Business. “This competition has us on the global stage competing against some of the top universities in the world. I am extremely proud of Dr. Bolin and Dr. Honeycutt for their hard work to get our students to this round of the competition.”

For more information about the virtual pitch competition, please visit.


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