UNT Alum Sponsors New Competition for Student Entrepreneurs
A new competition at the University of North Texas – College of Business, created by a celebrated UNT alum, allows students to put their creativity and entrepreneurial skills to the test—with a chance to walk away with a significant cash prize.
The Westheimer New Venture Competition, new to the college this year, is sponsored by philanthropist Jerome “Bruzzy” Westheimer. The UNT alum’s new competition will allow students the opportunity to bring their business ideas—whether products, services or enterprises—to a panel of business professionals.
According to UNT College of Business Dean Marilyn Wiley, the new challenge will offer students “a special opportunity … to think critically and get in front of admired business leaders to gain constructive, personalized feedback for their proposals.” But some students may walk away with even more than the chance to present for professionals—competitors will also be in the running for $10,000, $5,000, and $1,000 prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners.
Westheimer, the competition’s sponsor, earned his bachelor’s degree from UNT in administrative management in 1965. He currently serves as the president for Valbel West, an oil and gas producer/geology company based in Ardmore, Oklahoma. He is also CEO and president of the Jerome Westheimer Family Foundation. His involvement with UNT has continued since his graduation in several forms, including his role as a life member of the UNT Alumni association and a member of the school’s President’s Leadership Board.
Westheimer sees the new competition as a “mini ‘Shark Tank'” for UNT students, providing a chance to gain entrepreneurial experience in real time. “What you are forced to stand before a board of directors to present your idea, you’re going to find out what the world is really about,” he commented.
The competition is open to all UNT students competing in teams of three. Of the submissions, 12 teams will be selected for the chance at 15-minute presentations to the panel of judges.