Texas State to participate in Microsoft-sponsored business pitching competition


McCoy Hall, where the Microsoft-sponsored event will be held Nov. 30, sits Oct. 27 on campus.
Photo By David West | Assistant Multimedia Editor

Abby Gutierrez

Microsoft selected Texas State as one of four universities to hold a business-pitching event to help grow San Marcos’ economy.

Microsoft, along with Net Impact, a nonprofit organization that promotes using business skills to promote social and environmental causes, will host the Community Impact Pitch-Off Nov. 30 at the McCoy School of Business.

Texas State’s Net Impact chapter, McCoy College Bobcat Net Impact, will compete in a pitch-off event where students and community members are invited to pitch business ideas. Arizona State University, the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Iowa were also chosen to host the event. Texas State was the only university chosen not in a state capital.

Teams of two to five participants must submit a proposal idea of 300 words maximum by Oct. 31 based on one of four prompts: extending environmental sustainability, bridging the digital divide, expanding access to digital skills or engaging community stakeholder.

Net Impact will select 10 finalists Nov. 3 to compete in the Nov. 30 live pitch-off event. The week after the finalists are chosen, they will gain access to virtual and live feedback from Microsoft experts through a webinar, as well as the opportunity to pitch their idea in front of a professional Microsoft judging panel. The winning team of the pitch-off event will receive $1,000 in prize money and $5,000 seed money to help implement their idea in San Marcos.

Janet Hale, finance and economics senior lecturer and the McCoy College Bobcat Net Impact adviser, said it is an honor to be selected by Microsoft despite not having a Microsoft Azure Datacenter, which the other selected universities have. McCoy College Bobcat Net Impact has been chosen as the winning undergraduate chapter of the year three times in the last seven years, including in 2017.

Hale said having the event on campus is an opportunity for Texas State to show the world what the university can accomplish.

“Being one of the four campuses in the United States selected, this gives us the opportunity to showcase what Texas State is doing as an emerging research institution and looking at the innovation we’re doing all throughout the campus,” Hale said. “We at Texas State have the opportunity to deal with the entrepreneurs and residents but also in cross-cooperation with other colleges around campus.”

Nikita Demidov, finance senior and event coordinator, is in charge of spreading the word across campus and the San Marcos area, inviting students of all majors to submit an idea.

“The challenge specifically addresses the community because it is super important for us as a huge university to give something back to San Marcos and the people around us,” Demidov said. “In simple terms, if you have an idea of how to build a business and at the same time find how it benefits the community around it, that’s what they ask you to pitch.”

Cedrik Chavez, digital media innovation junior, is helping plan the event and is submitting a proposal idea with his team.

“We have been reaching out to people locally and to the community like the Food Bank (and) the City of San Marcos (to) find out an actual problem that’s in the community, so we’re not just solving something that doesn’t need to be solved,” Chavez said.

Students can submit a proposal to the competition until Oct. 31 by applying through the website. For more information, contact Janet Hale at [email protected]

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