Notice to aspiring St. John’s University entrepreneurs: Finalists in the University’s James and Eileen Christmas Annual Business Plan Competition will pitch their plans and the winner will be announced on Thursday, April 7 from 6-8 p.m. Peter J. Tobin College of Business.
The winning individual or team will receive $5,000 and cash prizes will be awarded to second through fifth place finishers. Students were required to submit a summary of their new for-profit venture, which included its target market, estimated three-year performance goals, financial plan, and more. Competitors were also able to submit growth plans for existing businesses, with some restrictions.
“At a business college with formal majors, there are people who just have the idea of trying to start a business in their DNA,” said William D. Reisel, Ph.D., a professor in the department of management and competition director. . “There is a risk, but there is also a great reward.”
The event, which returns to campus after a virtual competition last year, is supported by board member James Christmas ’70CBA, ’10HON and his wife, Eileen. Mr. Christmas is the retired Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of KCS Energy.
The two-part event begins with five individuals and/or teams delivering three-minute business presentations. The winner will receive $500. Then the five business plan finalists present themselves for the top prize of $5,000.
Attendees can vote for the winning pitch. Voters who sign their ballots are eligible for an Amazon gift card raffle. A panel of judges determines the winner of the business plan.
“It’s not possible without the contributions of James and Eileen Christmas,” Dr. Reisel said. “They are very dedicated to the competition.”
Last year’s winner, Ivans Esperance ’20TCB, ’21MS, designed a mobile app to help students pivot into life as a professional. The app, CollegeSavvy, took top honors from a field of 26 competitors. It is available for download on the App Store.
“Winning meant a lot to me,” said Mr. Esperance, who used the prize money to support a revamp and now lives in Stamford, CT. “It confirmed that my idea and my vision was something that could impact not just my demographics, but the whole world.”