College’s PioPitch to feature six programs during 2017-18 school year

With each session revolving around a different intriguing topic, this year’s PioPitch series at Marietta College is sure to excite and inspire many entrepreneurial minds throughout the campus and local community.

The 2017-18 season of PioPitch will feature engaging problem-solving sessions led by entrepreneurs working in a variety of areas. All sessions last one hour, begin at 4 p.m. in the Timothy O. Cooper Auditorium and are free and open to the public.

Marietta College recognizes and celebrates entrepreneurs as those who identify problems and develop solutions. Through PioPitch, students, entrepreneurs and Mid-Ohio Valley business and community leaders are connected, with the intention of building a bridge between theory and practice and turning challenges into opportunities.

Functioning like a large focus group, PioPitch is able to foster discussion and viable proposals between the two different presenters and the diverse audience.

Each presenter is afforded 30 minutes on the stage, with 5-10 minutes allotted to provide an overview of his/her organization, followed by an introduction of a current challenge or problem. The remainder of each speaker’s time is devoted to feedback from and dialogue with the audience.

While PioPitch is meant to be an engaging and collaborative experience, Assistant Professor of Business and Economics Julie Harding gives assurance that sessions are never intimidating or professionally rigid.

“For those who have not previously attended PioPitch, we want them to know that our sessions are designed to be informal,” she said. “In other words, come as you are. You can simply listen to the presenters or you can join in as members of the audience provide feedback and new ideas sought by our presenters.”

With free mugs even given to attendees, Harding likens the atmosphere of a PioPitch session to “that of a group meeting for coffee, informal but engaging.” 

In conjunction with Marietta College celebrating the vibrant local small business community by hosting the 2017 Mid-Ohio Valley Entrepreneurship Expo (MOVEE) and Marietta Main Street “First Friday” in September, the first PioPitch session of the year will feature two retailers from the downtown Marietta business district. Laura Pytlik of Wit & Whimzy and Jennifer Sturgill of Green Acres of Marietta will be the presenters on Thursday, Sept. 14.

With the celebration of Homecoming occurring in October, PioPitch will take the chance to welcome both an alumnus and a group of student entrepreneurs to the center stage. On Thursday, Oct. 19, Megan Dowler of Blossom Yoga and the members of Fifth Street Consulting at Marietta College will give presentations.

The last PioPitch of the fall semester will take place on Thursday, Nov. 16. In association with the 10th anniversary of Global Entrepreneurship Week, an event celebrated by 10 million people in 170 countries, entrepreneurs working to solve problems beyond the borders of the United States will be featured. Pickering Energy Solutions as well as Dr. Meike Schleiff, Founder of the Grow Project and Assistant Professor and Director of Research for Future Generations University will be the session’s presenters.

As part of National Entrepreneurship Week, which is sponsored each February by Microsoft, the first session of PioPitch in the spring will feature two entrepreneurs who daily bring creativity and innovation into their work. Geoff Schenkel of Resolve Studios and Misti Sims of Little Black Dress will present on Feb. 8.

The PioPitch session slated for March 1 will highlight both the Mid-Ohio Valley and its noted historic features as well as the individuals using their talent and creativity to invigorate the local arts and culture scene. Through their presentations, Jessica Wielitzka of Hidden Marietta and Andy Felt of Shakespeare by the River Festival will discuss their investment in bringing history and art to life in the local area throughout the spring and summer seasons.

Junior PioPitch, scheduled for April 19, will cap off the season. In an effort to encourage and inspire the entrepreneurial mindset from a young age, this special session of PioPitch offers middle- and high-school students the opportunity to present ideas and receive real-time feedback. Junior PioPitch presenters will be identified by their educational organizations in early 2018.

With a wide array of topics being discussed throughout this year’s sessions, many campus and community members will likely be captivated and excited to attend a PioPitch session. For others less easily persuaded to attend, Harding is optimistic of the power of PioPitch and the atmosphere it induces.

“The sessions are free and open to one and all. If nothing else, come and check us out at least one time,” she said. “Who knows, you might even want to sign up as a presenter for our next season!”