Future Entrepreneurs Pitch Ideas in SLU's First Business Plan Competition

April 28, 2009

Future Entrepreneurs Pitch Ideas in SLU???s First Business Plan Competition A proposal for a family-run pastry business, complete with product samples for the judges, took first place in a student business plan competition launched this semester at Saint Leo.

Graduating senior John Passaro (shown in photo) convinced judges that he had a good idea for a small business to make Italian pastries and baked products for his local community in central Florida. Passaro lives in the town of Spring Hill with his parents, who are transplants from New York. The family says they have missed the types of baked goods they were used to getting in Brooklyn. John’s sister Dana, a student at the MacDill Center, helped develop the written plan, which detailed how the enterprise would employ the baking and business talents of their parents.

John Passaro handled the 10-minute live presentation in front of a panel of judges. The volunteer judges included area alumni, a local business speaker, and Joseph Neptune, assistant professor of business.

The judges had five minutes to ask the competing students questions about details of their concepts.

Coming in second place were returning business students Lauren Southwood (on the left in the photo) and Pamela Walcott (on the right). They devised an idea that would cater to students living on the main campus: during late-night hours their business would supply and deliver the snacks, toiletry items and other merchandise typically stocked in convenience stores. The two said their market would be students who either cannot or should not be driving off campus to make these purchases. Customers would call in their orders. The team’s research on pricing and profit margins drew from interviews with area stores.

The Passaro team won $1,000. The Southwood-Walcott team won $500.