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Entrepreneurs Win Bauervic Pitch Prizes

November 22, 2021

Students at Northwood University are known for their entrepreneurial spirit, and their talents were on full display at the 12th Annual Bauervic Business Pitch Competition on campus this week.

Known on campus simply as “The Pitch,” the contest is a true business start-up competition where students compete for a share of $6,000 in prize money made possible by a generous gift from the Charles M. Bauervic Foundation. The competition provides an opportunity for students to showcase business skills they learned in the Northwood classroom.

Students have five minutes to present their business idea to a panel, and then there is a five-minute question and answer session.

“Each five-minute presentation is the culmination of months of work,” said John Gustincic, director of the Northwood University Center for Creativity and Enterprise. “Students work on their start-up businesses for months leading up to the pitch, attend business model workshops, and work with faculty, staff, and mentors in the development of their unique business models.”

Experts shared their “Tips from the Pros” videos created at the state-of-the-art Timberwolf Studio located in the Northwood Idea Center on Main Street in downtown Midland. These videos helped the student entrepreneurs as they developed their business models and prepared for pitch night.

Clay Taylor

Taking first place in the competition and earning a $3,000 prize was Clay Taylor, a sophomore and entrepreneurship major. He presented his business “Bejutsu,” which he pitched as a business venture on the cutting edge of technology. Bejutsu is an NFT (non-fungible token) business that combines blockchain technology, cryptocurrency, and art. Bejutsu will allow individuals to purchase a digital film cell (of sorts) from the wildly popular Naruto series. Naruto is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Masashi Kishimoto.

“When I first spoke with Clay about his NFT business, I was thrilled,” said Gustincic. “NFTs are bringing art to youth in an exciting and forward-thinking manner that combines art, blockchain technology, and cryptocurrency, all within a superbly crafted business model.”


Mitchell Willman

Mitchell Willman, a senior and entrepreneurship major, took second place and $2,000 in prize money for his pitch for “The Willman’s Brands.” Willman suffers from severe food allergies, and he had a dream of creating delicious foods he and others like him could enjoy. After much work, that dream has come true. The Willman’s Brands line offers delicious bread, pies, and sauces free of the top-ten allergens, gluten-free, and organic.

“Mitchell is an amazing example of a young adult that has turned his hardship into a business that he, and hopefully, millions of other allergy sufferers will benefit from,” said Gustincic. “Passion drives businesses. Mitchell’s personal story is inspirational. Faced with severe allergies, he chose to see the good in his situation, resulting in a business that offers tasty foods safe for allergy sufferers to eat. Mitchell’s food products are amazing because they are both healthy and taste good!”


Camara MacKey

Third place and a $1,000 prize went to Camara MacKey for her “Tropical Secrets” idea. MacKey, a senior and marketing major, identified a problem in the haircare product market – the lack of hair care products designed specifically for African-American women’s unique hair care needs – and set out to provide a solution.

“Camara is a true source of inspiration for all African-American women,” said Gustincic. Her story is one of perseverance. The 2021 pitch was Camara’s fourth time competing. Each year she has come back with a better and stronger business model. The growth and development in Camara’s business model from 2020 to 2021 is truly amazing. Camara’s perseverance will propel her to ever-higher levels of success in the future.”

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