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Vanderbilt Entrepreneurship Association Holds Inaugural Owen Venture Competition

Apr 24, 2017
Vanderbilt Entrepreneurship Association Holds Inaugural Owen Venture Competition
Winners earn opportunity to compete in University Venture Challenge finals at 36|86 this summer

By Nathaniel Luce

The Vanderbilt Entrepreneurship Association (VEA), in partnership with Launch Tennessee (LaunchTN), hosted the first Owen Venture Challenge (OVC) for Vanderbilt Business students last week.

Patrick Morsches (MBA ’18), Jeffery Hull (MBA ’17), and Rachel Rock-Blake (MBA ’18) took 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, respectively, earning cash prizes and the chance to compete in the statewide University Pitch Challenge, to be held at 36|86, the Southeast’s marquee event for entrepreneurs, investors, and thought leaders, this June.

“The significance of the statewide UVC Pitch Competition cannot be overstated,” said Christopher Salas.  “This is only the second year in which it has occurred. Owen students who participate in the Pitch Competition, with the help of LaunchTN, are given a tremendous opportunity to have a lasting impact within the entrepreneurial arena within Tennessee.”


OVC winners Rachel Rock-Blake, Patrick Morsches, and Jeffery Hull (L to R)

Morsches is the founder of Let’s Room Together, a company that helps people find roommates in a private setting. Hull is the founder of Savvy, a service offering parents and families better tools, transparency, and simplicity to ease the burden of college savings. Rock-Blake’s startup EcoBalance is developing an environmentally friendly way to control the spread of invasive species through education, professional connections, and paths to corporate profitability.

For their finishes, Morsches, Hull and Rock-Blake earned $1,000, $650, and $360, respectively. They now qualify for entry into the statewide challenge; all three entrepreneurs plan to enter.

Held at the Owen Graduate School of Management, the University Venture Challenge saw six competitors deliver 15-minute presentations and answer questions mid-pitch. The judges panel consisted of David Frederiksen (MBA ’96), CEO of PatientFocus, Selden Frisbee (MBA ’06), Principal at Diversified Trust, and Evan Austill, Managing Director of Austill Ventures.

The Owen Venture Competition is one of five Vanderbilt-sponsored competitions selected to participate in LaunchTN’s 2016-2017 statewide University Venture Challenge (UVC). The UVC is a complement to the existing Specialists Program and a way for LaunchTN to engage more students within the established entrepreneurial community across Tennessee.

Founded in 2012, LaunchTN is a private-public partnership dedicated to cultivating and promoting Tennessee’s entrepreneurial economy.

Contact Person: Nate Luce Director of Business News and Communications

Contact Phone: 615.322.3469
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