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ETSU student entrepreneurs urged to enter iBucs competition, April 5

Contributed • Updated Mar 15, 2019 at 4:26 PM

All new businesses begin with a big idea. An upcoming student competition at East Tennessee State University aims to fund the best ideas presented to a panel of judges.

Any ETSU student, or group of students, is encouraged to pitch their business concept at iBucs, slated for April 5 at the Millennium Center, for a chance to win up to $4,000 to accelerate their startup.

“All they need to get started is to submit an idea. Our mentors will help them develop it into a successful business pitch,” said iBucs organizer Sonu Mirchandani, an adjunct professor in the Department of Management and Marketing.

Mentors will walk students through the process of creating a business plan and a pitch deck. Each student or group will give a five-minute presentation followed by a question and answer session with a panel of judges. Pitches will be scored based on criteria such as understanding of customer need, commercial feasibility, the approach for bringing the business to market and the ability to sustain operation and growth.

Darack Nanto, a graduate student who took first place at iBucs in 2018, continues to work on a prototype for his Eco Smart Can, which uses IoT (Internet of Things) technology powered by solar energy to track and compact trash and send alerts when it needs to be emptied.

“After winning the competition, I really got inspired. I invested in books and equipment and I went to an entrepreneurship conference in Nashville and talked to other people with startups across Tennessee,” Nanto said.

Previous iBucs participants have pitched business ideas ranging from health care to technology and services. The competition is presented by the College of Business and Technology and aims to promote student collaboration and connect student entrepreneurs to resources available in the community.

“We continue to see students who have great ideas, and wanted to foster and showcase them,” said Stephen Hendrix, event organizer and instructor in ETSU’s Department of Computing. “We started thinking about how we could help students push their idea forward with a business plan, so we created a platform to present ideas.”

Students may enter iBucs by filling out an entry form available at www.etsu.edu/ibucs. For more information about the competition, contact  Hendrix at [email protected] or Mirchandani at [email protected]

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