Press Release


 With Cash Prizes at Stake, Students from 12 New Jersey Universities Will Compete To See Which Team Has Most Innovative New Venture

The fourth annual UPitchNJ, an innovative statewide collegiate business model competition showcasing the Garden State’s top young talent, will be held Friday, April 26 from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Seton Hall University’s Bethany Hall, South Orange. New Jersey’s college students, faculty, alumni, friends and the public are all invited.

The competition is sponsored by the New Jersey Collegiate Entrepreneurship Consortium, which represents the entrepreneurship education programs at New Jersey’s four-year colleges and universities. Twelve universities will compete in the fourth annual competition: Fairleigh Dickinson University, Monmouth University, Montclair State University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Princeton University, Ramapo College, Rider University, Rowan University, Rutgers University, Seton Hall University, Stevens Institute of Technology, and William Paterson University.

Marcus Weldon, President of Bell Labs and Chief Technology Officer, Nokia, will deliver a keynote address to kick off the event. Seton Hall University’s Interim Provost Dr. Karen Boroff, will welcome the crowd. Giuseppe Morgana, Digital Director, NJ Office of Innovation, will extend greetings from the state of New Jersey.

Judging the students’ pitches are: Michelle Y. Bajwa, Co-Founder, Domain Computer Services; Andrew Frazier Jr., President and COO, A&J Management; Jack Januszewski, President and COO, Lemma Inc.; Sejal Lakhani-Bhatt, CEO, TechWerxe; Lara Nikola, President, Smart Sips; and Clark Smith, Senior Venture Officer, New Jersey Economic Development Authority.

Each university will send an undergraduate student team that has launched a startup or a new venture in development to compete for the prizes.

“UPitchNJ showcases the best and brightest young entrepreneurs from all over the Garden State,” said Susan Scherreik, founding director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at Seton Hall University. “When companies in New Jersey seek to expand, or to move to the Garden State, a prime consideration is New Jersey’s highly educated workforce, especially employees who are innovative self-starters. These students are excellent examples of that.”

Student teams will be judged on the innovation and originality of their startup idea, and the quality of a written Executive Summary and oral presentations. The contest judges will also be looking for creative and innovative thinking about markets, products and services. The teams will be evaluated on their perceived ability to execute the idea and turn it into a viable, profitable business, and/or venture with significant social value.

The competition’s aim is to highlight the ingenuity and creativity of today’s college entrepreneurs, who are increasingly launching businesses from their dorm rooms.  As entrepreneurship educators in New Jersey, we want to provide our entrepreneurial students with a networking forum with other students, mentors and potential investors.

We believe that this competition will help brand New Jersey – home to Bell Labs and Thomas Edison – as the innovative state that it is, plus encourage young entrepreneurs to develop their businesses here, leading to economic growth and job creation.  


Student teams will compete for the following prizes:

1st Place (sponsored by PNC Bank): $2,000 award plus Coaching Session with Mario Casabona, founder, TechLaunch; Coaching Session with David Sorin, McCarter & English.

2nd Place: $1,500 plus Coaching Session with the NJ Innovation Institute at NJIT; Coaching Session with NJ Tech Council.

3rd Place: $1,000 plus Coaching Session with entrepreneur David Stengle, Startup Grind.

Best Early-Stage Startup: $1,500 Plus Coaching Session with entrepreneur Greg Olsen, Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Princeton University. This prize is for an innovative idea that is in an earlier stage of development.

Audience Choice Award: $250 Amazon Gift Card.


PNC Bank is the sponsor of the first-place prize. The event’s other supporters include Withum, New Jersey Technology Council, TechLaunch, Startup Grind Princeton, New Jersey Innovation Institute, Inc., McCarter & English, and American Entrepreneurship Today.


For more information, visit the contest website:

The event is free and open to the public. No advance registration is necessary.

Directions and parking info for the event: Seton Hall.

Press Contacts: Susan Scherreik, Director, Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, Seton Hall University, and chair, UPitchNJ Planning Committee, at or (973) 275-2251. Also Sharon Waters, Interim Director, Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship, Montclair State University, or (973) 655-6803.

On social media: #UPitchNJ