2023 Createur Conference & Pitch Competition


Createur Conference & Pitch Competition

April 13-14, 2023

Olivet Nazarene University's McGraw School of Business invites students to participate in our first annual Createur Conference & Pitch Competition. The competition will include keynote speakers, expert panels and networking opportunities. Students will give their professional pitch and business ideas to Alumni venture capitalists who desire to foster the next generation of entrepreneurs. The event will be held on the campus of Olivet Nazarene University, 1 University Ave., Bourbonnais, IL 60914. 

Attend For Free?

Why Attend

1. Connections - Build relationships with like minded, faith-driven peers and professionals.
2. Opportunity recognition - Discover how to identify potential new products or serviced that may lead to promising ventures.
3. Entrepreneurial alertness - Gain a readiness to act on existing but previously unnoticed business opportunities. 
4. Find your calling - Explore how God can use you to solve problems and serve people through entrepreneurship. 
5. Cash Prizes & Recognition - Win up to $5,000 in cash prizes as one of the top pitches.  

Who's Invited?

Anyone who is curious, looking to grow, or challenge themselves, aspiring leaders, and those wanting to network with community leaders. All visitors are welcome to be a part of our Createur Conference and participate in our live audience for the Pitch Competition. 

The Call of the Entrepreneur to Create Something For Good.

We invite students to participate in our First Annual Createur Conference & Pitch Competition. The competition will include keynote speakers, expert panels, and networking opportunities. Students will give their professional pitch and business ideas to Alumni venture capitalists who desire to foster the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Put Your Entrepreneur Skills to the Test!

Participation offers students a unique opportunity to take what they learned in the classroom and apply it to real life. The competition provides personal and professional development by building skills including leadership and teamwork.

Pitch Competition Details

How It Works

Application Submissions, January 1, 2023 through March 1, 2023

  • Submit your application.
  • Submit answers to application questions.

Round One: Online Judging  March 1, 2023 – March 3, 2023

  • A remote judging round based on the application questions.
  • Judges will evaluate on concept, deliverability, how the company solves a problem, business model, and investability.
  • Up to 20 teams will be notified if advancing to the semi-final round. 

Round Two: Semi-finals April 13, 2023

  • Selected semi-finalists (up to 20 teams) will be notified by March 3, 2023.
  • Each semi-finalist will pitch their ideas to a live panel of investor judges on campus.
  • Judging will be based on a 5 minute pitch, pitch deck, and 5 minutes of Q&A. 
  • The top two teams from each group will advance to the Finals.

Round Three: Finals April 14, 2023

  • Finalist teams will present to a panel of judges.
  • Order of presentation will be randomly selected.   
  • Teams will get 5 minutes to pitch and 5 minutes of Q&A

Winners Announced, April 14, 2023
1st Place  $3000
2nd Place $1500
3rd Place  $500

Currently, we are seeking applications for Foundeurs in the following stages:
1.  Idea Stage:
You are only getting started with your business if you are in the "Ideation" stage. You preparing to introduce your first product to the market, or you might have a functional prototype or pilot.
2.  Pre-revenue Stage:
If you are in the pre-revenue stage, you may have a prototype, pilot, or first product, but you may not yet be making money from clients.
3.  Early Stage:
You have a product or service, you're making money, and you're trying to scale if you're at the early stage of proven demand.

Rules & Guidelines

All currently enrolled college or university students and Olivet Nazarene University Alumni are eligible to compete. Affiliation with the business school is not required. Pitches can be from individuals or teams.

All business concepts must be created, managed, and owned by the participant/team who is registered for the competition. (At least 50% ownership is required by a college or university student or  ONU Alumni)

Team Rules:
Teams may consist of 2-6 students or Alumni. At least one participant is required to be a currently enrolled student or have graduated from ONU.

Teams are to designate one person to be the team lead. This team member will be the point of contact for the competition. 

Competition Rules:
Round One will take place online. All participants who meet the submission criteria by the deadline will compete in the online round. Participants advancing to the next round will be notified.

Round Two Semi-finals will take place live on ONU campus. Participants will be divided into randomly selected competition tracks with a separate panel of judges. The 5 minutes to pitch and 5 minutes of Q&A will be strictly enforced. The top two teams from each track will advance to the finals. Feedback will be provided and then may be used to revise final presentations. 

Round Three Finals will have the top teams pitch live to judges on the main stage.  The 5 minutes to pitch and 5 minutes of Q&A will be strictly enforced. The team’s presentation order will be randomly chosen. 

Teams may have up to two presenters for the final presentation.
Judging is based on but not limited to: originality, concept feasibility, business model, market opportunity, competitive advantage, presentation and well-researched.

Fees and Expenses:
There is no charge to participate in the competition or to attend.
Participants are responsible for their own travel, meals, and housing.

Faculty/Staff/Outside Advisors:
Participants are encouraged to seek outside advice. Advisors may attend the event and must register separately. 

Olivet Nazarene University does not assume any responsibility nor can provide any guarantees in regards to confidentiality. All sessions and competitions are open to the public which may include radio, television, or internet.
Judges will use discretion with information, but cannot guarantee non-disclosure. 

All affiliates and organizers of the conference may use photographs, video/audio in any book or other printed materials and any digital or physical medium that they produce.

These Rules and Guidelines may be updated at any time. 

Attend Free Apply to Pitch


Createur Connect & Pitch Competition’s goal is to award thousands of dollars in capital to help students catalyze and grow their business. Our VC’s are looking for those students who have the best ideas for profitable companies and fulfilling the role of the called entrepreneur to create something for good.

$3,000-First Place

$1,500-Second Place

$500-Third Place

Event Schedule
Thursday, April 13
  • 7:30 a.m.      Check in at Weber Center
  • 8:30 a.m.      Spark Sessions #1:
    • Purple - Scott Lingle: Perserverance When Times are Tough
    • Gold - Jeff Forgrave: The Power of Play: Bringing Creativity to Product Development
    • White - Ken Moore: How to Craft the Perfect Pitch
    • Black - TBD
  • 9:30 a.m.      Chapel with Steve Green
  • 10:30 a.m.    Welcome by Faculty and Program Director
  • 10:45 a.m.     Spark Sessions #2
    • Purple - Warren Ouwenga: Write the Last Chapter First: The Art of the Startup Exit
    • Gold - Jeff Williams: Scaling Up Your Significance
    • White - Hayden Rankin: Nice Shirt! Thanks: Monetizing Art & Comedy 
    • Black - Michelle Rogoff: How Venture Capital Works
  • 11:45 a.m.      Lunch
  • 1 p.m.             Panel Discussions with Judges in Kresge
    • 2 p.m.             Spark Sessions #3
      • Purple - Caleb Benoit: Profit for a Purpose
      • Gold - Tom J. Meyer: How to Fund Your Start-up
      • White - John Keigher: Building Value In Your Business By Valuing People
      • Black - Jacob Salem
    • 3 p.m.             Competition Break Out Rooms (Round 1 of Pitch)
    • 6 p.m.             Dinner in Chalfant Hall
      • Introduction by Glen Rewerts
      • Keynote: Steve Green
      • Finalists Announced

    Attend Free

    Friday, April 14
    • 9 a.m.             Spark Sessions #4
      • Purple - Jeff Bennett: Location, Location, Location
      • Gold - Professor Brian Utter: Innovation Disruption in Media & Communication
      • White - Panel: Daniel & Sam Kwak
      • Black - Panel
    • 10:15 a.m.     Pitch Competition Final Round, Winners Announced, Closing Remarks

    Apply to Pitch

    Event Speakers

    Steve Green                

    Keynote Speaker                        
    President of Hobby Lobby

    Jeff Williams      

    Chairman & CEO

    Ken Moore

    Connect Roasters

    Michelle Rogoff     


    Sam Kwak

    Entrepreneur, Real Estate Investor, Mentor & Author
    Co-Owner, The Kwak Brothers

    Jacob Salem  

    Founder & CEO

    Jeff Forgrave

    Entrepreneurship Program Fundeur & Adviseur 
    Product Developer, Business Strategist & Investor

    Tom Meyer      

    Senior VP SBA Division Manager 
    Centrust Bank N.A.

    Hayden Rankin  

    Nice Shirt Thanks LLC

    Brian Utter

    Radio Station General Manager

    Daniel Kwak

    Entrepreneur, Real Estate Investor, Mentor & Author
    Co-Owner, The Kwak Brothers

    Rich Hill             


    Scott Lingle

    Entrepreneurship Program Fundeur & Adviseur
    Co Founder / Chairman of the Board Remodel Health

    Caleb Benoit

    Connect Roasters

    Jeff Bennett   

    Founder & President
    Bennett Commercial LLC

    Warren Ouwenga

    Lifelong Business Builder, Innovator & Philanthropist          

    James Webb         

    TikTok & Creator Economy Expert                     
    Dyce Media

    John Keigher

    State Bank of Herscher
    Kankakee County Chamber & Kankakee County CEO, Board Chair

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