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CobraVenture Pitch Showcase 2024 is May 20
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CobraVenture Pitch Showcase 2024 is May 20

Parkland student entrepreneurs will pitch their ideas and vie for up to $4,000 in awards

Aspiring student entrepreneurs from Parkland College will soon pitch their ideas before local venture capitalists and startup experts as they vie for up to $4,000 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 fifth CobraVenture Pitch Showcase at 6 p.m. on Monday, May 20, in the Parkland College Student Union. The contest will highlight six students from the CobraVenture program's student accelerator lab.

Entrepreneurship Facilitator Marc Changnon will serve as emcee. CobraVenture's 2024 cohort, which began at the start of the 2024 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 Madeleine Wolske, director of the Illinois Small Business Development Center at the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation; Marissa Siero, associate director of entrepreneurship programming at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Grainger College of Engineering; Julie Weishar, department chair for Parkland College Fine and Applied Arts; and Mark Pelmore, founder of Lincoln & Hill Training and Skill Development Center.

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.

Parkland College thanks the following businesses and individuals for supporting CobraVenture's next generation of entrepreneurs: Busey Bank, Clanin Marketing, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Gies College of Business, It's a Wrap Automotive, ShawLuxe Premier Renovations, Libman, and Mark and Tammy Kesler.

CobraVenture is funded through existing funds from the Parkland Foundation Entrepreneurial Founders Program and those raised through its annual Entrepreneur of the Year event. Parkland Community Education, the college's noncredit arm, helps 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 Strategic Partnerships and Workforce Innovation.

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