RECESS business competition coming April 7

| Staff Reporter

RECESS, an entrepreneurial presentation tour which will culminate in an idea and music festival in Los Angeles, will host a qualifying round at Washington University on April 7.

The competition, which will be financed almost entirely by RECESS, will allow five selected teams of students to publicly present their concepts to a panel of experts recruited from both Washington University faculty and the St. Louis community. One of these teams will be selected to move on to a St. Louis regional qualifying-round, which will feature a performance by rapper Tory Lanez, later in the month.

Event organizers hope to combine the resources of Social Programming Board, Olin Business Council (OBC), Student Union and the RECESS tour, all of whom are partnering to put on the competition.

Applications to be one of the presenting teams are still open, but organizers believe the event also has plenty of value for those in the audience observing the pitches.

“I think a lot of people, when they saw our Facebook event, thought that you could only attend if you were pitching, and that’s 100 percent not true. This is an entertainment spectacle as much as it is an opportunity,” SU special projects coordinator and senior Jessie Bluedorn said. “We hope other people will come by for free food, to support their peers and maybe to meet some interesting folks as well.”

The competition’s winning team will move on to a regional event in late April where they will present against the top teams from Saint Louis University and Webster University, fighting for the chance to win an all-expenses paid trip to Los Angeles in June to present their idea to industry leaders and to potentially win the tour’s grand prize of $250,000.

Rapper Tory Lanez will perform at the Pageant following the pitches at the regional event on April 26, and students from all three schools will be able to attend.

“The concert part was really planned by RECESS itself. Picking the artist, picking the date, they handled all of that,” SPB president and junior Rahool Bhimani said. “There are three schools in the region, and the concert can’t really be tied to one specific school, so they’re handling the logistics of that.”

OBC president and junior Jimmy Soldati is confident there will be high attendance at the Washington University round as well as at the regional competition.

“We do expect a big turnout because we have so many entrepreneurial groups on campus already that do this sort of thing, and a lot of people have ideas in the works,” he said. “People train for this sort of thing; we have the Skandalaris Center that has promoted this for us a bit on their social media, and they anticipate this turnout to be large. So, there’s a lot of this spirit on campus that we think should be good for the tour.”

Soldati also noted his excitement about OBC’s partnership with SPB and SU for the event, especially due to the latter’s expertise in programming.

“The idea first came from SU, and they thought this is an entrepreneurial thing, so why don’t we partner with the business school,” he said. “SPB got involved to help promote it…It’s really a coordinated effort between the three groups.”

Some students are already excited about the opportunities the event will provide.

“I think it sounds like a great opportunity for people with entrepreneurial ideas to test those ideas and to use them in the real world,” freshman Bohdan Chushak said.

Bluedorn hopes that the event can add something new to campus activities and noted that it demonstrates Washington University’s ability to compete with schools that are the same size or larger.

“We’re excited to do something new and mix it up,” Bluedorn said. “I feel like there’s sometimes a stagnation of on-campus events, so to bring something so fresh that’s hitting a lot of other big universities is really cool.”