Entrepreneurship student Julie Zaloba recently presented a business plan for “Julie’s Café” at the Nascent 500 Business Plan Challenge hosted by Ball State University’s Entrepreneurship Center. Zaloba’s plan was selected as one of 12 top collegiate entrepreneurial ventures invited to the annual competition held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home of the Indianapolis 500.
The Nascent 500 is an opportunity for undergraduate students from around the world to hone their entrepreneurial skills and compete for cash prizes by presenting their original business plans to a panel of nationally recognized judges. The twelve students/student teams selected to compete received $500 per team member to defray the cost of travel. They then had just 500 seconds (one lap) in the back of a limousine slowly circling the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to pitch their business idea to three judges followed by an additional 500 seconds in “the pits” to answer questions from these same judges.
Upon completing her pitch and taking in the overall experience Zaloba noted, “This was a first rate experience allowing me to interact at a level of professionalism that I could only have dreamed of. I learned a lot from the feedback I received from the investor judges, which is ultimately going to make my business plan even stronger as I continue to move forward in this entrepreneurial process.”
Dr. Mark Schenkel, assistant professor of entrepreneurship, added, “The opportunity for Julie to present her venture at this year’s Nascent 500 competition was an amazing accomplishment in its own right given the level of competition the event draws annually. It is also reflection of Julie’s talent, personal drive and prospects for her venture, Julie’s Cafe.”