Jeff Hoffman, a successful entrepreneur who has been part of well-known startups such as Priceline.com, uBid.com, CTI and ColorJar, will present the keynote address at this year’s Colorado State University Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge on May 30.
Hoffman will also use his experience as founder of startups and CEO of both public and private companies, as a judge for the Challenge, one of the nation’s richest business pitch competitions with a grand prize of $250,000 available.
“We are thrilled to have Jeff help evaluate our Enterprise competitors,” said Christine Chin, interim director of the Institute for Entrepreneurship in the College of Business at CSU, which is co-sponsoring the Challenge. “We are even more delighted that he will be our featured speaker. His amazing experience as a serial entrepreneur, senior executive, motivational speaker and producer of both Hollywood films and a Grammy-winning jazz album, will provide our competitors and anyone who attends his talk with valuable business and life lessons.”
In addition to his many business interests, Hoffman also supports entrepreneurs and small businesses on a worldwide basis, serving on the global advisory boards of Global Entrepreneurship Week and many others. He supports the White House, the State Department, USAID, and similar organizations internationally on economic growth initiatives and entrepreneurship programs, and has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the national CEO council for his contributions to the field of entrepreneurship.
Judging business pitches
Hoffman will be joined on the judging panel by high-profile entrepreneurs and experts who will decide which companies will go through to the next level of competition. A total of 32 judges will be evaluating the business plans and presentations from competitors in the CSU Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge.
The keynote event takes place at 3 p.m. on May 30, in the ballroom of the Lory Student Center on the CSU campus in Fort Collins. It will be followed immediately by the head-to-head semi-final competition and then the final two-team faceoff that will determine the winner of the $250,000 grand prize in the CSU Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge.
Twenty-eight companies — 13 from universities throughout Colorado and 15 established startups from five states, representing 15 different industries — have been selected to compete in the Challenge. The Collegiate Competitors battle it out on May 27, for a first prize of $20,000, business mentoring from executives at Blue Ocean Enterprises, and the opportunity to move on to compete with the Enterprise teams for the grand prize.
Although the pitching promises to be fast and furious once the competitors take the stage at Lory Student Center, the CSU Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge offers an additional dimension not necessarily found in other business competitions. The teams spent two days in Fort Collins in April, not only receiving valuable training on how to refine their pitches but also insights into how to manage their businesses effectively.
“Even the questions on the application were very thoughtful and made us think about our business, “ said Jonathan Lacoste, COO of Jebbit Inc., who had gone through the Tech Stars program in Boston. “It’s not just about the pitching, it’s also a fun and valuable experience.”
Challenge events are open to the public and free to attend, but registration is required. Go to blueoceanchallenge.com to see a complete schedule and to sign up.
2015 CSU Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge
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