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January 22, 2018 : OUC Professor Seeks Entrepreneurial Minded Students


Ohio University Chillicothe Assistant Professor of Applied Management, Tanya Hire, is hoping to bring home a second championship. Hire, though, is not an athletic coach. She hopes to bring home a second championship in the 2018 Cross-Disciplinary Enterprise Concept Pitch Competition, sponsored by the US Department of Energy (DOE), Ohio University's Voinovich School's PORTSfuture program, TechGrowth Ohio, and Social Enterprise Ecosystem program.

Just as it sounds, teams of two to five students from any discipline are invited to prepare and present pitches, brief presentations to sell a concept or idea to investors, or in this case, judges, that focus on enterprise and economic opportunities at the US DOE former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant (PORTS), which is currently being decommissioned. Pitches may include anything from energy production, supply chain development, or potential services surrounding the current enterprise hub.

In order to help students better understand what they will be pitching, various learning opportunities will be available including classes in professional enterprise development instruction, a guided tour of the plant, and pitch prep coaching. Students will have most of spring semester to develop teams and create a pitch for the competition. Hire hopes to have teams selected soon after the start of spring semester.

Hire is passionate about this project and the many educational and personal benefits students could gain from participating in the competition. Serving as the service-learning component to Hire's SAM 4700 capstone course, students will learn about regional economic development, entrepreneurship and business start-ups, market research, strategic and financial planning, and public speaking skills.

Hire shares, "This is an opportunity for students to build their resumes with real world business experience." While her students will have a special focus on the pitch competition during spring semester, Hire welcomes students from outside the Applied Management major as well. Dr. Greg Obi, Assistant Professor of Business Management Technology, has also voiced his support of the project and plans to help OUC reach success.

Students will have the opportunity to learn about Lean Launch methodologies for enterprise concept development by staff from TechGROWTH. The training session will take place on Feb. 1, 2018 at 2 p.m. in room 147 of the Technology & Business Development Center.

In February, the tour of the current facility is scheduled so students can have a firsthand look at what they are working with and determine its potential. Team pitches must be mostly developed by March when the three participating schools, OUC, the University of Rio Grande, and Shawnee State University, will have institutional competitions to determine who will qualify for the final round scheduled for the end of April.

The final presentation will be held at Shawnee State University. The educational opportunities and tour will be provided free of charge for participating teams.

This is the second Pitch Competition offered in southern Ohio, the first being in 2014 that brought home a first place award for OUC. In 2014, an OUC team of David Felty, Zach Ousley, Mishion Payne, and Bobby Pfeiffer earned first place at the Regional Business “Pitch” Competition. Hire is hopeful that a 2018 OUC team will celebrate the same success.

Student interested in participating in the competition should contact Hire at or register for SAM 4700.

Story by: Ashlee Rauckhorst Tatman