At Invent@NMU, we are proud to provide the opportunity for NMU students to develop as young professionals. By working with local clients to develop their product ideas, our team deploys entrepreneurial tactics daily when they come into the office. Invent@NMU alumnus and budding entrepreneur, Austin Niemi, is a perfect example of our program’s success. Once a Project Manager, Austin worked directly with entrepreneurs in the area to turn their ideas into products. Now, with an idea of his own, Austin will be participating in this year’s annual Big Pitch Competition.
Hosted by the College of Business, The Big Pitch is the culminating event of the annual New Business Venture competition at Northern Michigan University. All campus and Marquette communities are welcome to attend this “Shark Tank” style competition where students like Austin pitch their ideas to a panel of judges as they try to win thousands of dollars to get their business ideas off the ground. The event will be hosted in the Forest Roberts Theatre located on Northern Michigan University’s campus
Northern Michigan University students, irrespective of their major, are invited to participate. NMU students must be enrolled at the University during the 2022 Fall and 2023 Winter semesters. Students working individually, or in teams of up to five, can submit a plan to start a new business and compete for prizes.
There is a cash prize for the first-place winner in the best trade fair presentation. Levels of cash prizes and/or consultation package awards are given to finalists of the business plan competition based on the judges’ evaluation of the viability and presentation of their business plans.
From Newberry, Michigan, Austin came to NMU to earn a Bachelor of Applied Science with a concentration in Management. In the summer of 2022, Austin joined Invent@NMU to further his knowledge and hone his skills as an entrepreneur. He plans to apply the experience gained from the Invent@NMU program to successfully launch his idea at The Big Pitch.
“Thomas Edison said, ‘invention is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration’ and no truer words were spoken when it comes to commercializing an idea. Innovation comes about through insight but commercial success comes about through a great deal of effort and persistence, and I learned that in my entrepreneurial career.” – Austin Niemi
Outside of his passion for entrepreneurship, Austin enjoys cooking. Even though he has been unsuccessful on a 2 year journey to make the perfect square pizza crust. While the crust has defeated him, his opponents in Muay Thai have not, earning him the title of Champion this past year. We are so excited to watch Austin grow in the professional world and see what he does as a young entrepreneur.
Austin will present to the board a new way to approach hydroponic farm operations. The vision of his idea surged in an attempt to make our world better by combating food scarcity with more efficient farming operations. Although the idea is still in early stages, he has the entrepreneurial knowledge and skill to see it through what he says is:
Invent@NMU started sponsoring a Mini Pitch Competition to pair with the Mini Pitch in 2022. Fekete (Professor at NMU School of Art and Design), Carol Johnson (Dean of NMU College of Business), and David Kronberg (Director of Entrepreneurial Services at Invent@NMU & Innovate Marquette) form the panel of judges that will award FOUR $500 cash prizes to those that impress them with their ideas.
It is asked that candidates fill out the application form before the due date and present a smart, FUN, and convincing pitch. In addition, participants are encouraged to put their best foot forward and proactively answer questions they think the judges might ask about their ideas as there will not be a Q & A time slot.
About Pilar Perello Ferrer: Originally from Mallorca, Spain. She is currently a Senior at Northern Michigan University studying Marketing. Pilar has been employed as a Project Manager at Invent@NMU since July 2021.
Invent@NMU is a program of Northern Michigan University, powered by students, led by professionals.
101 W Washington St. Suite 11
Marquette, MI 49855
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