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Junior Sells Business Idea in 90 Seconds

Published: November 18, 2010
 Nick Chmura had 90 seconds to pitch his business idea to a panel of judges. He stared out at those business professionals and new venture capitalist as more than 200 attendees stared back. It was the first time Chmura had addressed a crowd that size.

“I always like working on my business skills and thought it’d be a good opportunity to practice my public speaking,” said Chmura ’12, a finance major and treasurer of UT Entrepreneurs, who pitched his idea during the Collegiate Entrepreneur Organization (CEO) Conference in early November.

Chmura submitted his pitch about a month before, along with 99 other students. He was one of 60 chosen to participate in the contest during the Chicago conference. Dr. Dean Koutroumanis , assistant professor of management and advisor for the UT Entrepreneurs, has accompanied students to this conference for three years. He said the CEO Conference is the largest collegiate entrepreneur conference in the U.S. with more than 1,600 students participating from all over the country.

Chmura was the only UT student out of 14 attending the conference to participate in the pitch contest. He placed eighth for his business idea,, a website that searches social media profiles to find good birthday, anniversary or holiday gifts for guys to give their girlfriends.

“I definitely had butterflies, but I always feel there isn’t much to lose in situations like that,” Chmura said.

“Nick was the first UT student to ever participate in the highly regarded CEO Business Pitch Competition,” said Koutroumanis. “Needless to say his peers as well as I were elated with his performance and how poised he was throughout the process. Nick was a class act and represented the University well.”

A serial entrepreneur, Chmura said he is constantly thinking of business ideas.

“I like the creativity in entrepreneurship,” said Chmura, chairman of the finance committee for Student Government. He also writes articles for a blog hosted by Alex Monroe ’10 called . Monroe led a breakout session on blogging during the CEO Conference.

“I was extremely proud of each and every one of the students, as they represented UT Entrepreneurs and the University of Tampa with the highest level of class and professionalism,” said Koutroumanis. “It was truly an honor for me to be there as their advisor and watch them engage with their peers from colleges and universities nationwide.”

In the past two years, UT Entrepreneurs has grown from 10 to more than 30 students. They meet every other Wednesday with their next meeting scheduled for Dec. 1 at 5 p.m. in North Walker Hall, Lecture Hall B. For more information, contact President Jake Filloramo at .

For more information on , contact Chmura at .

Jamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer
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