Charger Innovation Challenge offers $1,000 in cash prizes to winners

Pat Manna is the creator of  the concept for the Charger Innovation Challenge.

Photo contributed by Rebecca Manna

Pat Manna is the creator of the concept for the Charger Innovation Challenge.

Students have the opportunity to win $1,000 in cash prizes by sharing new business ideas with the professionals. GHC is hosting the Charger Innovation Challenge. All students in any discipline can participate. The registration deadline is April 2. Students can register here to get started on a competition of innovation. If there’s an idea that needs to be out in the world, now is the time to pitch it.

Team orientation will be held Feb. 3 from 12-1 p.m. via Zoom.
Several student workshops will be held to get students on the fast track of pitching a high quality idea. On February 10, learn how to answer the question, “How do you know your big idea is a big idea?” On March 10, learn the ins and outs of presenting your idea. Practice day will be April 15. The workshops will be held from noon to 2 p.m. via Zoom. A recording of each meeting will be available to watch later.

Students will present their pitches via Zoom on Wednesday, April 21 from 12-3 p.m. They will present before a panel of entrepreneurs and local business leaders. Individuals or teams of up to three people will present their three to five minute pitch.

Patrick Manna, a consultant to GHC and an adjunct professor working with both Alan Nichols and Melanie Largin, Deans for the Schools of Education and Business respectively, shares how the idea for this challenge was born and the main goal in bringing this opportunity to students.

Manna said, “The ‘Charger Innovation Challenge,’ Business Pitch Competition is an idea that I brought and presented to Dr. Alan Nichols about two years ago, when he was the Dean of the School of Business, as part of a larger conversation on implementing a full course program on Entrepreneurship for the School of Business.

“The concept of a ‘Big Idea’ Business Plan and Business Pitch competition is something that I conceived and started when I was the ‘Executive In Residence’ at the Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina several years ago.”

The goal of this competition is to bring opportunities to students.

Manna said, “The primary objective of this type of ‘Shark Tank’ competition is to give our students the opportunity to present or ‘pitch’ their ‘Big Ideas’ for a new innovative product or service based on an actual real world market need to a panel of potential investors that is made up of Executives and Entrepreneurs from our Business Community.”

“The competition stresses innovative, critical, on your feet thinking and great communication skills. The CIC puts our student teams right in front of Executives that not only judge their ideas but can potentially invest in their concepts and help the teams get into business. There have also been some cases where judges would offer jobs to competing team members based on their pitch performance,” said Manna.

Pitches will be judged based on innovation, creativity, viability, how it fills a market need and presentation enthusiasm and passion.