Aspiring St. John’s University entrepreneurs take note: Finalists in the University’s annual James and Eileen Christmas Business Plan Competition will present their plans and the winner will be announced on Thursday, April 7, from 6 to 8 p.m. at The Peter J. Tobin College of Business.
The winning individual or team will receive $5,000 and cash prizes will be awarded for the second- through fifth-place finishers. Students were required to submit an executive summary of their new, for-profit business, which included its target market, estimated three-year performance goals, financial plan, and more. Competitors were also able to submit growth plans for existing businesses, with some restrictions.
“At a business College with formal majors, there are some people who just have in their DNA the idea to try to start a business,” said William D. Reisel, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Management, and the competition’s Director. “There is a risk—but there is also a great reward.”
The event, which returns to campus after a virtual competition last year, is supported by Board of Trustees member James Christmas ’70CBA, ’10HON and his wife, Eileen. Mr. Christmas is the retired Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of KCS Energy.
The two-part event begins with five individuals and/or teams delivering three-minute business pitches. The winner will receive $500. Then, the five business plan finalists present for the top prize of $5,000.
Those in attendance can vote for the winning pitch. Voters who sign their pitch ballots are eligible for a drawing for Amazon gift cards. A panel of judges determines the business plan winner.
“This is not possible without the contributions of James and Eileen Christmas,” Dr. Reisel said. “They are very dedicated to the competition.”
Last year’s winner, Ivans Esperance ’20TCB, ’21MS, designed a mobile app intended to help college students pivot toward life as a working professional. The app, CollegeSavvy, won top honors out of a pool of 26 competitors. It is available for download in the App Store.
“Winning meant a lot to me,” said Mr. Esperance, who used the prize money to support a redesign and now lives in Stamford, CT. “It validated that my idea and vision was something that could impact not only my demographic, but the entire world.”