ZuVenturez semi-finals allows participants to reflect on what brought them there and to continue to improve their pitches

The 15 ZuVenturez semi-finalists stood in front of a panel of judges giving pitches to see if they would advance to the next round on Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. in Wilden. ZuVenturez pitch is for people who have started a business or have a great idea for a business and wish to compete for prize money. There are different prizes the largest being $15,000.

This was the first year that ZuVenturez pitch had two different tracks: the idea track and the traction track. The difference between them is the idea track is for those who are just starting their company and haven’t sold anything yet, while the traction track is for those who have. This meant there was a wide range of business pitches from colorful hospital gowns to an app comparing a product’s price.

Joe Torkelson, communications intern at ZuVenturez, states that the event  allows students to bring their unique business ideas to the table and turn them into actual business plans.

The journey to the semi-finals starts with students becoming a part of ZuVenturez.

Airielle Bains, junior business management major, recalls her experience of going to the workshops to learn about putting a business idea together.

“I learned about how to communicate our story and how important our story is to the business,” Airielle said.

Contestants say the road to the semi-finals is long and hard but encourages growth.  Kyle Brown, senior computer science major, said presenting pitches is a hard but valuable skill.

“I think a good idea comes from a point of stress or a point of life that you personally believe is stressful. The value comes in solving that problem,” Brown said.

People come into ZuVenturez with varying levels of experience as it is designed for APU alumni, undergraduate and graduate students and not all of them currently are or were business majors.

“I love the idea of collaboration and teamwork and just being able to really discuss the ideas within creating a product,” said Megan Burchill, a freshman psychology major. “I think it’s wonderful either way to be an individual, but I also think it is better when you have other partners surrounding you and supporting you.”

ZuVenturez Pitch is valuable for some to just have been along for the ride. Rachelle Bains said winning would be great, but even if they don’t win they have the skills they need to obtain opportunities in the future.

Many are surprised they got as far as they did. Stetson Baber, a senior computer science major, states that he never expected to make it to the semi-finals and that they thought they did bad on their first try, but somehow they made it.

As to who is going to win ZuVenturez, that is up for debate. There are varying factors that make a successful business and that seems to be the area of controversy.

Airielle said it is the story behind the business itself that makes it special. The ZuVenturez blog says that is an innovative idea versus a novel idea that allows a business to last and stand out.

The mystery of who is going to win is something only the judges can answer on the day of the finals competition.

“It’s insane every single year there is a special idea that makes it to the end,” Torkelson said.

The finals for ZuVenturez Pitch will take place on March 26. Six finalists will participate in the last round to see who wins the cash prizes.