April 8, 2022

10th Annual Business Idea Pitch Is April 20: More Entries, More Prizes

Now 100 years young, Edwin Cottrell (L), namesake of the Cottrell Center and WCU emeritus professor of health and physical education, visited campus on April 4 to hear about student success and learn more about the impact of the center across campus. Pictured with him are (L-R) Monica Zimmerman, Cottrell Center Executive director and professor of management; Pattie Diggin M’96, Cottrell Center director; and Evan Leach, dean of the College of Business and Public Management.As West Chester University wraps up its Sesquicentennial, it is also celebrating the 10th anniversary of the annual Business Idea Competition hosted by the Dr. Edwin Cottrell Entrepreneurial Leadership Center. The finalists will compete in person on Wednesday, April 20, at the WCU Alumni and Foundation Center before a panel of judges that consists of business angel investors, entrepreneurs, and business advisors. Doors open for networking at 4 p.m. and the in-person pitches begin at 5 p.m. Register to attend here.

Sponsored by the Cottrell Center, the Keiretsu Forum Mid-Atlantic, and the Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce, the WCU Business Idea Competition promotes creativity and idea generation by recognizing innovative ideas for new products, services, and technology.

An increase in prize money to $15,000 for this 10th anniversary competition was made possible by a generous gift supported by the Keiretsu Forum Mid-Atlantic.

The Business Idea Competition draws entries in four categories: WCU undergraduates; WCU graduate students, faculty/staff, and alumni; Chester County high school students; and Chester County startups. This year’s Round 1 and Round 2 panel of judges selected the following to advance to the finals:

WCU Undergraduate Track

Matthew Zwilgmeyer, VR Warehouse: a space where individuals can come to experience virtual reality in the most realistic way, as it combines both the sense of sight and touch.

Anthony Leipziger, The Ring Beat: a smart ring that tracks a person's heart rate and has GPS & telecommunication capabilities.

WCU Graduate, Alumni, Faculty & Staff

Morris Cohen, Holodeck: an experiential learning experience that combines elements of virtual reality and teacher curriculum, resulting in high levels of student engagement.

Janear Hankerson, 7th & Northampton Studio Production LLC: a program that addresses the issue of teacher shortages and how it’s rooted in the lack of classroom management. This program provides educators with humor theories, techniques, and exercises to keep their audience engaged.

Chester County High School Students

Alyana Wybranski, Brendan Pappas, James Spaulding, Kenneth Profeto, CASS – Computerized Automatic Suppression System: a computerized autonomous suppression system that can be used in place of typical sprinkler systems.

Joseph Richter, Split: an app that solves the lack of communication that divorced parents have and the effect it has on children. The features of the app include a shared calendar to manage a child's schedule, a direct line to counseling hotlines, and can be used to split expenses.

Chester County Startups

Kevin Boylan & Nicole Boylan, SCAPES: a virtual landscape design business that produces 3D custom landscape designs based on a customer's envision.

Devin Marlin, Beach Runner: a full concierge beach gear set up and clean up service.

Cottrell Center Director Pattie Diggin M’96 is pleased with the growth of the competition. “Ten years ago the WCU Business Idea Competition was established with one track and 40 participants. Since then, it has expanded to include not only our own University students, faculty, and staff but also Chester County community members and Chester County High School students, drawing more than 300 participants this year. The Cottrell Entrepreneurship Center looks forward to supporting the continued growth of creative idea development at WCU and beyond.”

The presenting sponsor for this year’s Business Idea Competition is Meridian Bank. Univest Financial is the gold sponsor.

The Dr. Edwin Cottrell Entrepreneurial Leadership Center fosters entrepreneurship across West Chester University and throughout Chester County by preparing students to contribute to the entrepreneurship ecosystem, providing access to a rich network of entrepreneurship resources and enhancing the startup and growth of new ventures to develop a strong WCU entrepreneurship culture and a vibrant Chester County entrepreneurship ecosystem.


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