Kent State College of Business Administration to Host Pitch Competition at the FES

The fourth-annual Female Entrepreneur Summit (FES) will feature, for the first time, a pitch competition to be conducted by faculty members from Kent State University’s College of Business Administration.

Over 50 to 60 attendees were selected from a pool of applicants to attend a morning pitch coaching session conducted by six coaches from Kent State University. They will choose 10 finalists, who in the afternoon will pitch to all FES attendees and a panel of judges who will determine the top four finalists. The winners will receive the following cash prizes: first place ($10,000), second place ($5,000), third and fourth places ($2,500 each).

FES is being presented by Contempo Communications, whose president, Renée DeLuca Dolan, will serve as a judge for the pitch competition. Joining her on the panel will be Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Fliess who are the key-note speakers for the event and the co-founders of Rent the Runway, along with Jumpstart COO Cathy Belk and two Kent State Officials – Dean Deborah F. Spake and Associate Dean Robert Hisrich, from the College of Business Administration.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Kent State University’s College of Business Administration again this year,” DeLuca Dolan said. “Last year we gave away one scholarship, and this year we’ll be giving away upwards of $20,000 to the top four winners in the ‘American Idol’-style pitch competition.” In 2014 Kent State University and the Female Entrepreneur Summit bestowed a Rising Entrepreneur Student Scholarship, which will happen again this year, along with Kent State’s expanded involvement with the pitch competition. “This is our way of giving back to the community and supporting women in business; start-ups specifically.”

The Kent State University pitch coaches include:

Brian Bowles, CEO of Blackwolf Tactical and Kent State University student start-up mentor
Craig Zamary, serial entrepreneur and College of Business Administration faculty member at
Denise Easterling, CPA, serial entrepreneur and College of Business Administration faculty member
Mike Beder, Kent State University graduate and serial entrepreneur
Mary Heidler, retail start-up specialist and College of Business Administration faculty member
Kipp Krukowski, serial entrepreneur and College of Business Administration adjunct faculty member

"The pitch competition will hone novice entrepreneurs’ critical communication skills that are vital to clearly and succinctly, relate to others their product, service or business,” states Mary Heidler, one of the Kent State coaches. “An entrepreneur never knows when she will happen across a potential investor, collaborator or customer.  Being prepared to deliver a quality pitch at the drop of a hat is key to an entrepreneur’s success. "

The Summit will be held on Oct. 21 at the Cleveland Auditorium and Conference Center. Tickets for the event are $100 for paid Cleveland Business Connects (CBC) magazine subscribers, $125 for general admission, and $225 for pitch competition attendees. Student tickets are available for $75 with a valid college ID.

To register for the event, visit or call (216) 831-9557.

For more information and news about Kent State University’s College of Business Administration, visit

For more information about the FES Pitch Competition, visit


Kent State University’s College of Business Administration is one of only 180 colleges or schools of business worldwide to achieve dual accreditation in both business and accounting from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International, the global accrediting body providing specialized accreditation at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral level.  The College of Business Administration is home to 4,502 students and is the second largest college of business in Ohio.  The college boasts a satellite office of Kent State University’s Career Services Center dedicated to business students, and operates the Global Management Center, the Center for Information Systems and the Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation, all propelling scholarly research, establishing innovative industry partnerships and providing outreach to Northeast Ohio and beyond.

Media Contacts

Michelle Parrish Manning, Director of Marketing and Communications, 330-672-2717,

Sean Spake, Marketing and Communications Specialist, 330-672-1279,

POSTED: Wednesday, July 29, 2015 12:00 AM
Updated: Tuesday, August 9, 2016 08:24 AM