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First Driehaus Cup promises competition, community

All are welcome to Driehaus College of Business’ first pitch competition for BUS 101 students

A student presents at business competition last summer.

This fall’s inaugural Driehaus Cup is sponsored by the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center, which supports entrepreneur competitions throughout the year including last July’s Pitch Madness. (DePaul University/Kathy Hillegonds)
The inaugural Driehaus Cup is a cross between the reality TV series “Shark Tank” and the friendly competition between wizard training schools in “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” says Jim Mourey, an associate professor of marketing.

“As silly as that may sound, that tournament allowed talented students to showcase their knowledge and abilities in a supportive context by working as a team, which is exactly the spirit of the Driehaus Cup,” Mourey says. As the course coordinator, Mourey developed BUS 101 based on input from faculty spanning every business department and came up with the idea for the competition.

What began as an idea for a social event grew to a university-wide signature experience thanks to Associate Dean for Student Success Jaclyn Jensen. Groups of students in each of the nine sections will use the skills and knowledge they developed during the class to pitch a business product, service or solution to their classmates. The students will choose a winner from their respective section, who will compete for the Driehaus Cup on Wednesday, Nov. 16, from 5 – 7 p.m.

The DePaul community is welcome to attend the event at the Lincoln Park Student Center, Room 120. Food and drinks will be provided. Registration is open. Audience members will have the chance to cast votes for the winners.

In addition to bragging rights, at stake is scholarship money -- $100 each for winners from each section and $500 for the Driehaus Cup winners. The Coleman Entrepreneurship Center and Morningstar are sponsoring the event.

A panel of six professionals will judge the competition: DePaul Provost Salma Ghanem; Maija Renko, professor and Coleman Chair of Entrepreneurship; DePaul alumni Bill Rogalla of M&J Wilkow, and Mark Wattley, chief people officer, Cooler Screens; Katie Dowling, head of global technology delivery and operations, Morningstar; and Valarie King-Bailey, CEO, OnShore Technology Group.​

“The Driehaus Cup provides an opportunity for all of our Business 101 students to develop an entrepreneurial mindset,” says Sulin Ba, dean for the college. “This is important for succeeding in any career, whether a student plans to start a business or wants to be an innovator within an established organization.”

The new Business 101 class and pitch competition are elements of a revamped curriculum for the Bachelor of Science in Business degree. The coursework now includes classes on business analytics, technology and business for social good. The College of Business will host the Driehaus Cup in the fall, winter and spring quarters.

“These classes deliver skills that are in demand by employers and connect to things we are well known for at DePaul, including the entrepreneurial mindset and our Vincentian mission,” says Jensen, who is also part of the committee that redesigned the curriculum.

Fundamental business skills are exactly what Suzanna Linek was looking for in the class. She’s a junior transfer student majoring in marketing, and this is her first business class at DePaul. She says she’s excited to see how others applied what they learned.

“It’s going to be cool to see how other groups chose to finance their plans, or what kind of design they picked for their logo or what research they did for their plan,” Linek says.

For Sam Stedry, a freshman marketing major, he says the best part of the class so far has been collaborating with his classmates.

“It’s fun in college to see how everyone wants to dig into this and put our best foot forward,” he says.

Linek and Stedry say while they and their classmates are fiercely competitive, they’ll still be there to cheer each other on Wednesday.