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Business Student and Alums Participate in ABQid Ski Lift Pitch

A Southern Vermont College (SVC) student team was once again invited to participate in a highly competitive venture capital event in New Mexico this year. The ABQid Ski Lift Pitch, inspired by an Albuquerque group that aims to attract entrepreneurship and jobs to the state, staged its third annual competition on Feb. 28 at the Taos Ski Valley resort. The event brought twelve business startups and entrepreneurs from all over the country; SVC was the only college team and the only East coast representative invited to compete.

The SVC team pitched their business proposal for Peak Alpaca, a student, alumni and faculty-partnered, eco-friendly clothing venture, according to Professor Jeb Gorham of The McCormick Division of Business. The team included SVC student Amelia Wistuk ’17 and alums Ryan Pingitore ’16 and James Hurley ’15. Faculty advisors are Gorham, Business Division chair Stacey Hills and Professor Jeffrey Thompson of SVC.

The project started in Gorham’s Applied Ventures Practice class in Spring 2016 and became an extra real-world opportunity after the team received solid validation pitching their business model to venture capitalists. Participants in the competition are selected based on their team, proposal scalability and ideas. The first-place winner of the pitch receives a $10,000 investment for their business. This year, Gorham said the SVC team’s pitch was again highly received and regarded, particularly impressive as the only student-based project amongst the many, more experienced tech or Silicon Valley startups. The professor reported that the Peak Alpaca proposal narrowly missed winning the entire pitch competition, finishing in the top three.

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