CobraVenture Pitch Showcase 2023
Parkland's fourth student-entrepreneur contest, May 15
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Aspiring student entrepreneurs from Parkland College will soon pitch their ideas before local venture capitalists and startup experts as they vie for up to $3,000 in monetary awards to fund their businesses and the title of Parkland Student Entrepreneur of the Year.
Parkland College's Entrepreneurial Network (PEN) will hold its fourth CobraVenture Pitch Showcase at 5 p.m. on Monday, May 15 in the Parkland College Student Union. The contest will highlight nine students from the CobraVenture program's student accelerator lab, which launched in January 2023.
Entrepreneurship Facilitator Marc Changnon will serve as emcee. CobraVenture's 2023 cohort, which began at the start of the 2023 spring semester, includes students from a variety of academic programs who want to start their own business while still enrolled in college. A list of the students, their businesses, and program details can be found at parkland.edu/cobrapitch.
Judging their capstone competition will be Damien Banks of OSF Healthcare, Carly McCrory-McKay of the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation, Marissa Siero of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Grainger College of Engineering, Professor Julie Weishar, chair of Parkland’s Fine and Applied Arts department, and Mark Pelmore of Lincoln & Hill, Inc.
The CobraVenture accelerator provides students with an avenue for networking and business mentorship. It features a collaborative workspace, topics taught by local serial entrepreneurs, and one-on-one guidance with business mentors. The program is supported through the Parkland College Foundation.
Thank you to the following businesses and individuals for supporting CobraVenture's next generation of entrepreneurs; Murry Wise Associates, Busey Bank, Clanin Marketing, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Gies College of Business, It's a Wrap Automotive, ShawLuxe Premier Renovations, Mark and Tammy Kesler.
CobraVenture is funded through existing funds from the Parkland Foundation Entrepreneurial Founders Program, Murray Wise Associates PEN Program, and those raised through its annual Entrepreneur of the Year event. Parkland Community Education, the college's noncredit arm, is helping to plan and administer the workshops. The program is operating with oversight from an advisory committee comprised of community leaders and Parkland College faculty and staff, spearheaded by Stephanie Stuart, Vice President for Communications and External Affairs.