It turns out you can do a lot in three minutes, the first-year Bryant University students participating in this Wednesday’s Global Pitch competition learned. You can captivate an audience, you can outline a big idea and, maybe, just maybe, you can share a plan that could help save the world.
Over the course of a little less than three hours, the 23 teams in this semester’s competition — known around campus as the G-Pitch Competition — all of whom are taking “Introduction to Business,” shared their game-changing business plans for confronting global issues, from manufacturing and selling environmentally friendly pacifiers and using the proceeds to fund resource centers in Ethiopia to combatting the scourge of locusts in Somalia to developing solar strips to mitigate air pollution in Antwerp, one of the world’s most polluted cities. With only three minutes to present their plans to a panel of judges from the Bryant community, every second counted.
“I definitely was a little nervous,” admits Natalie Adams ’27, whose team, Pocket Period, sought to normalize menstruation in Japan by offering fashionable, customizable, and affordable pouches for sanitary products. “But once you get up there and you start talking, you realize, ‘It’s now or never,’ and then its full steam ahead.”
Thinking globally, acting effectively
For the presenting teams, their pitches are the distillation of a semester’s worth of hard work, careful analysis, rigorous research, and entrepreneurial spirit. “Introduction to Business,” a required course for every first-year student at Bryant, provides a wide-reaching primer on the basic concepts of business operation, as well as the fundamental tools and ideas they’ll use throughout college and their professional careers. Working together in small groups, they then put their developing acumen to the test.
Each team selects an important problem that affects daily life in another country and is tasked with developing an original, viable business idea that helps address that problem. Guided by United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, they gain an understanding of the different factors — including political, social, and economic concerns — that shape both global and local competitive landscapes.
“Every little piece needs to be taken into consideration.”
Putting it all together into a single business plan means considering everything from financing to cultural issues to cost analyses to marketing to multi-year revenue projections — and then creating a comprehensive strategy that covers it all. “Every little piece needs to be taken into consideration,” reflects Christina Vitale ’27, also a member of team Pocket Period.
It’s a lot of work, Vitale notes, but seeing it all come together makes the effort all the more gratifying, especially when the result is aimed toward making the world a better place. "I think when a lot of people look at the business world, they think of the economy, or they just think of the numbers and the profits,” says Vitale. “This is a reminder that business is much deeper than that, and it can be much more than that."
When a pitch comes together
With plans considered, calculated and refined, the teams next condense them into short, attention-grabbing pitches that lay out their comprehensive business plans. They then test their presentations in the classroom and the teams with the best pitches are selected to move up to the Global Pitch Competition, which is held each semester (the course is offered twice a year) and organized by Bryant’s chapter of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization. The three winning teams receive a cash prize provided by the competition's sponsor, Bryant's Division of Student Affairs as well as gift cards to Bryant's Plant City X restaurant.
After each three-minute presentation, the judges grill teams on their plan, from potential competitors and challenges to their thoughts on scaling up their operations if they were proven successful. “This was a really impressive group. There were so many great ideas presented today, and so many of the groups focused on solving some of the biggest problems in the world,” notes G-Pitch judge and Bryant University Trustee Kim Anderson ’22H, the creator and co-founder of Plant City, the world’s first plant-based food hall and marketplace.
The G-Pitch event tests more than the students' ability to strategize; it also challenges them to think on their feet, communicate complicated concepts, and provide an engaging presentation. Making it a competition and bringing in judges from beyond the course raises the stakes. “I think it feels a little more like the real world,” notes Kijana Lloyd ’27, a member of team “Revive.”
“This is the world that all of us are living in, so we want to do our part to make it the best it can be — and to make it even better for future generations,”
That added challenge, he notes, made it all the sweeter when he and his teammates — Brie Dwyer ’27, Ryan Hayes ’27, Emma Desmond ’27, and Summer Sakowicz ’27 — emerged victorious as this semester’s G-Pitch champions. Their polished, professional pitch for a company supporting the adoption of electric vehicles in Singapore, which aims to phase out petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040, was the result of long hours of planning, practicing, and revising.
“We were constantly changing our plans,” Lloyd says. “Even last night, we were still perfecting our business.”
The long hours, though, went quicker through teamwork. “I think personally, one of the biggest lessons I learned through the course was about the power of working together,” notes Lloyd, who says the members of Revive have become friends, as well as colleagues, over the course of the semester. “We all learned each other's strengths and weaknesses and we were all there to support each other.”
Beyond winning the contest, or even getting a good grade, the members of Revive say their end goal was coming up with ways to aid others. “This is the world that all of us are living in, so we want to do our part to make it the best it can be — and to make it even better for future generations,” notes Dwyer.