Student entrepreneurs, leaders of local start-ups and University professors came together this weekend as students’ entrepreneurial ideas in the 1000 Pitches competition await judgment.

The participants gathered for the inaugural 1000 Pitches Summit held by the student entrepreneurship group MPowered at TechArb, a business incubator on East Liberty, on Saturday. Semi-finalists of the fourth annual 1000 Pitches competition met and listened to guest speakers, who offered advice on entrepreneurial and pitching skills.

Each fall, University students submit their entrepreneurial ideas to the competition, which has 10 categories. Students with the best pitch in each category will earn a $1,000 award from the event’s sponsors, which include the College of Engineering’s Center for Entrepreneurship, the University Law School and Google, on Dec. 11.

MPowered members said they decided to hold a summit this year because it enhances the experience for participants. Business sophomore Scott Christopher, a 1000 Pitches project director, said the event helped bridge the gap between the submission deadline of Nov. 18 and related events that MPowered hosts in the winter semester.

“People are engaged and moving forward and meeting great mentors today,” Christopher said. “We’re giving (the semi-finalists) the people they need to reach out to and learn from so they can take the next big step.”

One of the keynote speakers, Marc Weiser, managing director of RPM Ventures — an Ann Arbor-based venture capital company that invests in businesses developed in the Midwest — said in his speech that networking is essential for entrepreneurial success.

“Today is about your first step,” Weiser said. “Entrepreneurship is not a destination, it is not a thing you become, it is a state of mind.”

Weiser, an adjunct assistant professor of entrepreneurial programs in the College of Engineering, offered advice about networking.

“Don’t confuse networking with notoriety,” he said. “You don’t have to have everyone in the world know who you are. You just have to know everybody you want.”

Doug Neal, managing director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, told the event’s participants that competition is an opportunity for students to become entrepreneurs while still in school.

“When I was in school and there was no entrepreneurship program, I just wanted to get out,” Neal said. “I wanted to get into the world and experience it.

But Neal explained that as a student, he didn’t have access to the resources that University students do to pursue his entrepreneurial interests right away.

“The resources on our campus are incredibly valuable …” he said. “This and the other programs all linked together provide all sorts of resources. Students can stay in school and can achieve results while they’re here.”

LSA junior Gautam Muthusamy, an 1000 Pitches participant at Saturday’s event, said he hoped to network to enhance his penny stock company into an investor relations company.

“I’m looking for the next phase,” Muthusamy said. “That’s primarily why I came here — to network with people and find some venture capital.”

Engineering seniors Kinshuk Rajan and Andrew Copp collaborated to create a prototype of a medical testing device that is currently being tested by a doctor at the University Hospital.

“My idea is a simulator that simulates a fundamental test that doctors use to assess dehydration and peripheral perfusion,” Rajan said. “Unfortunately, it’s a test that many younger doctors are bad at doing, so I built a simulator that simulates the test and allows them to practice with it.”

Copp said the idea can still be improved upon, and one reason he came to the summit was to find ways to pitch the simulator better.

“One of the reasons I’m here is to try and find better ways to explain what exactly it is we’re doing,” he said. “Even my parents don’t really get what exactly it is I’m making.”

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