The Lipscomb University College of Business’s Center for Entrepreneurship will hold its fourth annual Kittrell Pitch Competition on April 11 beginning at 6 p.m. in the Swang Center on Lipscomb’s campus.
The event provides interested student competitors the opportunity to pitch their big ideas for a chance to win a $10,000 prize. The awards for the competition are made possible by contributions from alumnus and board of trustees member Marty Kittrell in honor of his father and 1941 Lipscomb graduate William B. Kittrell.
The pitch competition is known for selecting winners who continue to build a business from epiphany to fruition. Previous second place finisher, Hannah Kraebel, took the experience gained at Kittrell and parlayed it into not only bootstrapping her startup, Kapped, but also to become Lipscomb’s first student to win a national pitch competition. Her February 2018 win at the Southeastern Entrepreneurship Competition in Chattanooga, Tennessee, was her first after placing second at the National Collegiate Entrepreneurs Conference in Tampa, Florida.
Ray Eldridge, dean of Lipscomb’s College of Business, spoke of the success of the competition, notably Kraebel’s recent win and second place finish on the national stage. “We have always wanted to be a player in the collegiate competitions and it was our intent in starting the pitch competition. Now, it’s happening,” he said.
“We’ll have the panel of judges from local businesses. The panel will not be comprised of faculty. They advise the competitors, but will not judge. We like to pull the judges from area businesses,” said Eldridge.
Students who are not sure about pitching their ideas at the Kittrell Pitch Competition should do it, Kraebel says. In addition to the $10,000 first place, $3,000 second place and $2,000 third place prizes, the experience is worth participation. “Put it out there, let people beat it up for a second, and then see what it needs. Be brave,” she said.
Previous winners include Luke Benda, Macy Cottrell, Ben Siebold, and Kayla Ford for Ed. Pack Global which develops and sells backpacks to donate part of the proceeds to global organizations funding female education. The first Kittrell Pitch Competition winner, Zarina Gumbatova, received first place for her online business, Zarina Tova Boutique, which sells unique hand crafted women’s accessories.
“The students who participate are incredibly impressive in terms of their preparation, confidence and vision,” said Kittrell. “I give them credit, and credit to the faculty for helping prepare them for competitions like Kittrell. I really believe that the center for entrepreneurship has made great strides and students who have an interest in business benefit from the ability to pitch their ideas.”
Kittrell is chairman of the finance and real estate committee, a member of the buildings and grounds committee, and a member of the executive committee of Lipscomb University’s Board of Trustees. He has extensive career experience in a variety of industries with a focus on corporate strategy, mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance and security offerings, private equity, and board practices. His experience culminated in the strategic sale of five companies and the initial public offerings of two companies over the past 30 years.
In 2012, Kittrell was appointed to the board of directors of ASGEN Inc., a leading global provider of skilled contract, contract-to-hire, and direct hire professionals, serving the technology, healthcare and life sciences sectors. Kittrell serves as chairman of the audit committee.
Kittrell served as Dresser, Inc.’s executive vice president and chief financial officer from 2007 to 2011, when he retired upon the sale of the company to General Electric. Dresser was a $2 billion global leader in the flow control, measurement systems, and compression and power systems segments of the energy industry.
Previously, Kittrell served in executive management positions with companies participating in technology, consumer products, and other commercial and industrial industry sectors. Kittrell began his business career as a certified public accountant.
Kittrell graduated magna cum laude from Lipscomb University. He is a member of Financial Executives International, the National Association of Corporate Directors and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Those interested in attending the competition, panel discussion to precede the competition and reception may register here. For more information on Lipscomb’s Center of Entrepreneurship, click here. To learn more about the College of Business, visit the website.