Founder of BizGen
In A Nutshell . . . Tell Us About Your Startup Resource.
BizGen is a nonprofit organization with the mission of inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs. Our participants consist of high school students in teams of two to twenty. They are coached by teachers and mentored by real world entrepreneurs. Teams develop ideas for new businesses that can improve our world and how we live. They can be for-profit or nonprofit ideas.
Student participants refine their thoughts, turning ideas into business pitches, applying research, marketing, business and technical skills learned in the classroom, while mentors and coaches offer guidance. The culmination of the experience is a live pitch competition, held at the University of New Hampshire’s Paul College in Durham. There, they are given a stage, a live audience, and 15 minutes to pitch. A panel of entrepreneurial judges determines the winners, with the top three spots receiving $8,000 to get their businesses started.
What niche are you filling?
A variety of resources exist for adults interested in starting a business. At the college level there are many entrepreneurial competitions. BizGen believes that high school is a critical point in the development of entrepreneurs, and it’s a market that is not being served. High school is a time when students develop a vision of who they want to be and decide what to pursue in college and beyond. BizGen provides a platform for students to transform ideas into viable businesses, encouraging a generation of entrepreneurs who will likely drive new businesses and employ more than half of the domestic workforce. Students need to begin thinking entrepreneurially now!
Who or what was your best resource in helping your program get off the ground?
The idea for BizGen started in 2013. As an alumnus of the University of New Hampshire’s MBA program, discussing the idea with the organization came naturally. The Paul College of Business and Economics saw the value of BizGen immediately, providing both funding and a tremendous venue for the competition. The University has been a great partner in the development of BizGen and we see that relationship continuing into the future.
What does the future look like?
This is our third year and the momentum has been growing. We expect about 20 teams this year from across New Hampshire and neighboring states. Our coaches are teachers, who are pulling BizGen into the classroom as a practical activity to reinforce other core subjects. We’re investing in curriculum to support this evolution with the goal of having BizGen available to any high school that wants to participate. To do that, we need additional sponsors to join BizGen key supporters, UNH and Bank of America. There’s nothing stopping BizGen from going national.
How can people get involved?
The best way to get involved is to visit our website, www.Biz-Gen.org. Details on how to participate can be found for schools interested in starting teams, teachers who would like a practical application of business principles in the classroom, professionals interested in mentoring or judging and sponsors. Our web site is where they will also find contact information to speak with us when they’re ready to begin. Teams are forming now through March 1, 2016 for this season. Some other key dates include submission of the one page abstracts of the team idea by April 1st and 10 page outline of the pitch due May 20th. The BizGen pitch competition will take place at UNH’s Paul College on May 26, 2016.