This December, the Institute for Dispute Resolution (IDR) through its Entrepreneurship and Innovation NJCU – Jersey City Connect Project in partnership with Professor David Weiss’ Entrepreneurship and Global Business classes at New Jersey City University (NJCU) will be hosting two pitch competitions showcasing brilliant young entrepreneurs and innovators. These competitions are driven by students to engage in idea creation for the advancement of innovation and entrepreneurship with real-world models—one is a nonprofit case study and the other is an arts-based community wine bar concept. Throughout their studies this fall, the NJCU Business School students have been engaged in what Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) means for Jersey City and beyond. Students are currently preparing for their presentations, reflecting the principles of ESG and pitching to bring sustainable social change to underserved communities. As both pursuits are case studies providing real-world contexts, they are also prime examples of the types of offerings students and residents want to see in Jersey City. Working with local mentors representing various industries and with the rare opportunity to present their ideas to a curated panel of judges, including business owners, these students are propelling a new way of thinking as champions of culture, transparency, and long-term sustainable investments.
The first competition will take place on Monday, December 7th at 6:00 pm EST and will focus on an arts-based community wine bar concept, Lulu’s Daughter Wine Bar. Named after her mother Louise, also known as Lulu, Lulu’s Daughter Wine Bar is a concept by New Jersey resident and NJCU Business School alum Joyce Tanksley-Pizzo. Following a career working in finance, Joyce seeks to bring art and culture to Jersey City where locals and guests alike can immerse themselves in a creative, vibrant space. “Led by this passion as much as the wines themselves,” Joyce shares, “Lulu’s will offer a variety of reds, whites, and sparkling wines, as well as food pairings in a space that promotes socializing and networking in this cultural hub.” According to Professor Weiss, “teams have considered all aspects of this endeavor, from building relationships with local vineyards to engaging professionals in the arts.” He continues, “they will be presenting their ideas to Joyce from development through the launch of her business.”
The case study for the second competition tasks teams of students to pitch a Jersey City expansion based on a hypothetical plan utilizing STEM From Dance—a New York-based nonprofit organization that promotes dance as an avenue to enhance the development of engineering and technology skills in young women of color. Based on their website, only 4% of Black and Latina women occupy the STEM workforce today, so STEM From Dance aims to creatively build up the next generation of minority women leaders with the resources and confidence to succeed. According to the annual WalletHub diversity rankings for 2020, Jersey City is the most diverse city in the United States. The student teams must create a presentation featuring a mission statement, plans for funding, target market insights, strategic partnerships, and sustainability forecast among their criteria. This pitch will take place on Thursday, December 10th starting at 11:20 am EST.
All students involved are eager to share their ideas with the world and potentially put these into practice. After a semester of preparation, mentorship, and building excitement, they are ready to make a mark and showcase their skills. As Michael Arbitblit, the first doctoral fellow in the business school and first at NJCU in over twenty years, commented, “it is not everyday that a group of students has the opportunity to get involved in change agents for real-life businesses and our community at large.” You surely do not want to miss either pitch competition, and all the talent that will be on full display.