For students attending Cal State Fullerton, the end of October is a hectic flurry of studying and activities in order to get ready for midterms. However, many of those students are also getting ready for an event that is arguably more important than midterms: the Titan Fast Pitch.
The Titan Fast Pitch is a competition where students have 60 seconds to explain (“pitch”) their entire business model to a group of judges who examine and provide real time feedback focusing on how scalable and feasible their concepts are. This event provides students with real life experiences and feedback that help them as they start their entrepreneurial journeys.
While the idea may seem simple at first, the task of presenting an entire business concept in a minute can be quite daunting for first time student-entrepreneurs. Amerika Bernal was once one of these students. She is a CSUF Alumni who was kind enough to share some of her tips for students who are considering entering pitch competitions like the Titan Fast Pitch.
Passion is Key
“In the 2014 Business Plan Competition at Cal State Fullerton I had an idea that I was really passionate about and wanted to gain some real life experience. It was during this year that I pushed myself to make my dream of making a high quality sound reduction system for outdoor use a reality.” Said Bernal.
Passion is the ingredient that helps to keep entrepreneurs going; its the fuel for persistence. In other words, if you have passion you will put in the necessary work and preparation to do well in these kinds of competitions and as an entrepreneur in general.
Speak from the Heart
“When I attended [another pitch event] I was going up against older men who had already had cash flow businesses and had been doing this for quite a while. Being a female college student was a little unnerving, I had not planned what I was going to say originally. When it was my turn to present I spoke from the heart and everything just flowed smoothly.” Said Bernal.
People in our world hear pitches all the time so if you want to stand out from the crowd you have to do something different: speak from the heart. If you truly believe in your concept that should come through when you give your presentation. People, judges in this instance, will feel the passion you have for your concept and will be more receptive to your message.
Learn from your Experiences
Following her success at the Business Plan Competition, Amerika entered in the Titan Fast pitch competition. Armed with a business plan that was researched and perfected, Amerika sought the help of her mentors Travis Lindsay and John Bradley Jackson to make sure she was ready to compete.
During the first round of the competition she impressed the judges and proceeded to move into the Lightning Round but did not ultimately win.
“When I didn’t go to the next round I took it pretty hard, that was the first time that I had ever really failed anything and it took a day for me to get over it… As an entrepreneur it was good to experience that but I didn’t just leave it at that. I examined my scores and found out that the way I was communicating my idea was too technical for the judges.” Said Bernal.
A general tip that we give students all the time is to practice their presentations in front of other people. This way they can get feedback and make changes before the stakes become real. But even if you are the most prepared person in the room that doesn’t mean you are going to win so you must learn how to be resilient.
Pitch Competitions are great Experiences for Entrepreneurs
Looking back at the competitions she has competed in, Amerika is hopeful in what the future holds both for her as well as her entrepreneurial ventures. Her success and growth as an entrepreneur has been made possible due not only to her dedication but also to the experiences she has had at competitions like the Titan Fast Pitch.
“As a young and ambitious female entrepreneur, I have received nothing but positive feedback from many business people that I have encountered. I have managed to build a network, name, and identity for myself. All of which wouldn’t have been possible if I had not stepped out of my comfort zone and entered the professional business world.”
Titan Fast Pitch
The next Titan Fast Pitch is this Saturday, October 29, and is open to all students who want to compete and to everyone else who wants to attend as an audience member. Make sure to click this link to find out more and to reserve your ticket today!
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