Business Student Winners Are A Shoe In

JJ Bailey at 2005’s competitionFour student venture teams from Westmont’s entrepreneurship class presented their start-up business plans to a panel of outside reviewers, but in the end, one team ran away from the competition. Zipperz LLC, an innovative new trend in the casual shoe industry, claimed first place at the competition in Hieronymus Lounge in Kerrwood Hall Dec. 6.

The judges, Eli Eisenberg of StraightLine Management in Agoura Hills, Barry Fay of Aquaflo and Brian Azouz of PFS Inc., awarded second place to ThePatron.net, an interactive Web site that brings patrons of the arts together with artists and galleries.

Both teams, Zipperz LLC and ThePatron.net, will now enter national collegiate business plan events around the United States. The next competition is the Fifth Annual S.E.E.D. National Collegiate Venture Forum March 7-8, 2008, at the Reagan Ranch Center and Conference Facility in downtown Santa Barbara. There, nine of the best undergraduate and M.B.A.-level venture teams from around the country will present their start-up business plans to more than 40 venture capital, investment banking, hedge fund, private equity fund and angel investors.

At the 18th annual Westmont Collegiate Entrepreneurship Business Plan Competition, students made 15-minute PowerPoint presentations followed by 20 minutes of questions and critique from the panel.

Zipperz, targeted to people ages 6-16, allows the user to interchange the tops of their shoes by zipping on and off a canvas upper that fits on a standard sole. ThePatron.net connects artists, galleries and patrons who want to buy, sell, trade, lease, and promote a wide range of paintings, sculpture and other art pieces.

The competition is part of the Entrepreneurship and New Venture Development course at Westmont, taught by David Newton, professor of entrepreneurial finance, who founded the college’s entrepreneurship program in 1990.