Students to present business ideas at The Big Pitch


Trinity Carey

Have you ever stormed up a brain child that you thought just may improve the world? Have you had an idea for an invention or a business that could make it big, but lack the funds to start it up?

You may see your business dream become a reality with a “Shark Tank” style competition at NMU.

Five NMU students will compete in The Big Pitch from 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, March 29, in the Forest Roberts Theatre.

Students will present a five minute pitch of their business ideas to a panel of six judges from around the community in hopes of winning thousands of dollars to jump start their business.

The event is the culminating point of the New Business Venture Competition held by the NMU College of Business. The venture competition is meant to encourage entrepreneurial activism within students by recognizing those who create their own business models.

A competitor in this year’s The Big Pitch and senior business entrepreneurship major Julie Wilhelmi said the event offers Northern students a rather unique experience.

“It’s awesome that kids in their early 20s are able to create something so sophisticated in terms of a business plan and really think out all the details,” Wilhelmi said. “Then to have to present that in front of a group of judges and other people who might want to invest or actually start a business with people at such a young age—It’s awesome that Northern is providing us with that opportunity.”

Wilhelmi will be presenting her and her business partner Hannah Pickens, senior outdoor recreation and leadership management major, business idea “Healed by Nature.” Their goal is to heal clients through nature and sustainable outdoor activities by leading their clients on hiking, camping, kayaking and other various outdoor trips, she said.

“The main goal is to improve their mental health and get them to connect with nature and see the benefits that come from doing different activities outside,” Wilhelmi said. “We’re focusing on teens because of a recent increase in teen depression rates in the United States,” she said.

Among other entrepreneurial models to be featured at the event are:

Among other entrepreneurial models to be featured at the event are:

  • Marq Etiquette Board Shop by NMU alumnus Nic Beaudreault, whose mission is to provide gear and knowledge for board sports such as surfing, skateboarding, snowboarding and skiing.
  • Modern Marketing by junior accounting major Keef Edwards, whose mission is to grow the online presence of Keef Company, which focuses on sustainable and ethical products while helping others grow their own businesses.
  • Portage Paddle Sports by entrepreneurship major Brendan Jacques, whose mission is to bring new and affordable recreational activities to Michigan’s Copper Country.

The event is free and open to students and the public. Visit to reserve free tickets.