WMU Pitch Day winner takes home prize

Those who use a wheeled dolly every day to move something from point A to point B know what a strain it can be on the foot and how easy it is to tip a load.

A Western Michigan University student has created a device that can help movers and others who use a dolly to get their work done. Rosie Hall, an MBA student from Kalamazoo, took first place in the second annual pitch competition for the device she and her husband created, Dolly Xtractor.

Hall had three minutes to convince judges of the value of the single piece of stainless steel that can be attached to the shoe in order to transfer the weight of the load away from the top of the foot and pull the dolly's tongue free of the load. The force of the entire shoe, rather than the top of the foot, is used.

In her pitch, Hall told judges there is only one competitor in the market and it is a complicated and expensive device, compared to the simple Dolly Xtractor that can be sold for $19.99.

Hall received $1,500 as her award for winning the pitch competition. It is the second annual event organized by the Department of Management in the Haworth College of Business. It was sponsored by Educational Community Credit Union and Great Lakes Contract Group.

Savvy Dress Rentals, an upscale consignment boutique specializing in new and gently used fashion, was the business described in a pitch by the MBA students who took second place. Elizabeth Mooney of Kalamazoo; Andrew Eaton of Albuquerque, N.M.; and Gabriella Vezzosi of Livonia, Mich., received $1,000.

Jonathan Rhodes won $750, third prize and the People's Choice Award. His business idea, GoAnywhere Sleeper, is an affordable and secure way for off-road enthusiasts to comfortably sleep within a Jeep Wrangler. Rhodes is industrial and entrepreneurial engineering major from Farmington Hills, Mich.

Judges participating in the pitch event offered feedback to the students participating. The competition drew 32 pitch teams, and students were judged in progressive rounds by faculty and business community members, including many local business owners. The field was narrowed to eight teams for the final round of competition.

"The ideas that were pitched at this year’s competition showed how seriously WMU students take entrepreneurship," says Dr. Robert Landeros, interim director for the Haworth College of Business Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Source: Ashlie Harper Perry, Western Michigan University

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