Annual SBA Day a Huge Success

QuickConnect, winners of the Mini-Business Plan Competition: Miles Christophe, Taylor Castle, Casey Quan, Katie Cone, and Ricky VanDyke.

QuickConnect, winners of the Mini-Business Plan Competition: Miles Christophe, Taylor Castle, Casey Quan, Katie Cone, and Ricky VanDyke.

November 15, 2012

On Thursday, November 14, Menlo College hosted the Annual SBA Day for the second time since its reinstatement in 2011. The event kicked off with a keynote speech from Ron Kovas, the owner and principal at Venture Management Partners, who also teaches Marketing at Menlo. Mr. Kovas presented to a full room of students, professors, alumni, Board of Trustee members, and Accounting Advisory Board members the idea that the key to success in business is “persistence, persistence, persistence!” He encouraged Menlo Students to create their own luck, as he emphasized the idea that “luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” This set the tone for the remainder of the event.

Kovas’s speech was followed by seven concurrent breakout sessions regarding current topics ranging from sports management, to the impact of recent presidential elections on investors and wage earners. SBA Day attendees were able to watch Professors Derek Stimel and Craig Medlen debate the Fiscal Cliff and the state of the US economy, making room for laughter amongst this rather serious topic. Another one of the morning’s sessions featured the Mini-Business-Plan Semi-Finals, where freshmen presented their business plans in two-minute long “elevator pitches” to a panel of judges. Judges voted on the top five teams, who then moved on to the final competition held later in the afternoon.  

The breakout sessions were followed by a presentation from Amit Khatwani ’00, as part of the Executive Speaker Series. Mr. Khatwani talked about his work experiences at Silicon Valley Bank and Barclay’s Bank, and described the launch of a new venture in Singapore.

The day concluded with the presentations of the five Mini-Business Plan Competition finalists. The teams pitched their plans to a panel of judges, which included Simon Glinsky, Principal at the Glinsky Group and Vice Chair of the Menlo College SBA Advisory Board; Tyler Edlestein, Managing Partner & CIO at Ocean Endowment Partners, LLC; Loretta Doon, CEO of the California Society of CPAs; Carolyn Amster ‘79, Tax Partner at Burr, Pilger, Mayer; and Amit Khatwani. Each team had strong business ideas, however, QuickConnect convinced the judges that they deserved the first prize for creating an app that would allow users to take a picture of a person’s receipt and then import relevant data into QuickBooks and Quicken. In second and third place were the teams Collage and EasyEats, respectively. The “Student’s Choice Award” went to EasyEats who were able to capture the hearts of the audience.

“SBA Day was an enormous success. Our superb faculty, featured speakers, alumni, trustees, student speakers and competition participants, and staff created a business-focused, interactive event that informed and engaged the entire campus community,” said President James J. Kelly. “I am very grateful to everyone for their hard work, and I am proud of the exceptional outcome.”