Marketing & Communications  


November 20, 2009 - Grand Rapids, Michigan (November 20, 2009) - Two Aquinas College students were among the top finishers in a competition that recognized the entrepreneurial business acumen of competitors from four Grand Rapids-area colleges.

Aquinas students Peter Reno and Raul Velasco each received $500 for their third place finishes in the first annual West Michigan Regional Pitch Competition held at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) on November 19. The top finisher received $2,000 and second place was awarded $1,000. The eleven students competed in the Pitch Competition representing GVSU, Aquinas, Calvin College and Davenport University.

"The competition offers evidence not only of college/university collaboration but also of our efforts to encourage entrepreneurship in the region," according to Cindy VanGelderen, dean of the Aquinas College School of Management.

The competition involved students making 90-second pitches, which were then analyzed by a panel of judges based on the quality of their idea and presentation. The judges were three young entrepreneurs themselves. They included: Rick DeVos, entrepreneur and founder of ArtPrize,, and; Danny Beckett, president and CEO of Spearia, a Web design and marketing firm based in Comstock Park, Mich.; and Brent Hawkins, founder of Infusion Marketing. Competitors

Organizers of the event also announced that plans are underway to hold a West Michigan Regional Business Plan Competition in spring 2010. Aquinas plans to coordinate its own business plan competition internally to identify candidates to represent Aquinas at that spring event.