— by Mellany Armstrong, Associate Director of Communications

Moore’s second Emerging Entrepreneurs’ Business Plan Competition for graduates produced three winning alums this year.

The five participants, alums who graduated between 2008 and 2018, pitched their businesses to distinguished jurors in the competition February 27 at Moore in Graham Auditorium.  

First prize of $5,000 went to Marilyn Foehrenbach ’13 of Marilyn Foehrenbach StudiosShakira Hunt ’15 of Shakira Hunt Creative Studio and Brigette Indelicato ’10 of Brigette I Design tied as runners-up and each won $1,000. The other participants included Michon Proctor ’14 of Intergalactic Space Bears and Keely Hooper ’16 of Keeley Hooper Studio. The businesses encompass services and products such as branding, game design, photography, metalsmithing, collectables and textile designs.  

The competition is sponsored by Your Part-Time Controller LLC, and is supported by Moore’s entrepreneurship initiative ROI (Resources. Opportunities. Inspiration), organized under the auspices of the Locks Career Center, which facilitated the event. Jurors included Jennifer Alleva, partner, Your Part-Time Controller LLC; Brook Lenfest, CEO of NetCarrier; and Dan Swiger, CEO of Kultevat and founder of Mentor Capitalist Inc.  

The competition was the culmination of a series of on-campus workshops and one-on-one mentoring sessions guided by two guest mentors: Tim Daniel of SOS Group and former instructor at Wharton Small Business Development Center at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and Joe Mazzarella of NextStage Associates.  The staff mentor working closely with these alumni was the Locks Career Center’s associate director, Veronica Scarpellino.

"The program really helped me analyze things, like how do you stand out from the competition, how do you market yourself, how do you make your business more than just freelance, how do you take it to the next level," said Foehrenbach. "Meeting this network of other entrepreneurs was incredibly valuable."  

"I wanted to really get down to the specifics of how to promote and market myself to make this a real thing, and it forced me to really niche down and be specific to a lot of different things, like demographics, doing research and market need," said Hunt.