UB's Venture Pitch Winner, Isaac Schleifer
Startup UB student entrepreneurs from left to right: Matt Taylor, Isaac Schleifer, Jacob Goldberg, Eubie the Bee, Austin Cohen, Kimberly Brownlie and Benjamin Bell.
The University of Baltimore is a hub of entrepreneurial activity, and on Sept. 20, 2012 the mercury in the thermometer reached some new heights. Start with some innovative ideas, add six UB students plus a giant charter bus, and you get a powerful example of how entrepreneurship can shape the future of our state.
On that day, the “Pitch Across Maryland” bus stopped by the Merrick School of Business, offering a chance for some of our best student entrepreneurs to talk about their ideas for businesses with some highly successful business leaders. Six of these students were selected by UB faculty experts as having the best ideas out of an original group of more than 50 students.
For one of those six, Isaac Schleifer, the pitch resulted in more than an opportunity to learn how to describe his vision: It won the school’s grand prize of $1,000. A senior in the school’s business administration program, Schleifer offered a pitch that impressed the UB judges. His idea, called “Raffle Ready,” is a service and software package designed for nonprofits that want to hold grass roots fundraisers such as a raffle. The tool would automate the process of creating, promoting and managing a raffle fundraiser. Schleifer and his partners are currently in the final stages of development of the concept, and have already set up several successful turnkey raffle campaigns for local and national organizations, including Habitat for Humanity and the Leukemia and Lymphoma society.
“I now know and feel strongly that you don’t have to go to Silicon Valley to start a tech company,” Schliefer said after his idea was selected as UB’s best . “You can do it in Baltimore and you can start it in the computer lab at UB.”
Additional prize money was generously donated by Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Attman to provide some additional seed funding to the other five student entrepreneurs.
“This was moving, absolutely moving,” said Leonard Attman. “And I am so honored and proud to have been asked to participate.”
Merrick School of Business dean Darlene Smith said she is looking forward to more entrepreneurial “show me” events in the future. “There is a certain power, and a great takeaway, for a student entrepreneur to show their ideas to real-world business people,” Smith said. “It’s validating, thrilling, and of course a little intimidating. But that’s how small business is – you have to be ready to explain your concept and take on the ‘what if’ questions. It’s the ideal way to bring your idea one important step closer to fruition.”
More about the other five finalists:
News release about 'Pitch Across Maryland' Bus Tour.'