2022 Bob Mark Business Model Pitch Competition: Supporting Michigan Tech’s Entrepreneurs

The annual Bob Mark Business Model Pitch event is an event aimed at showcasing new business ideas by Michigan Tech undergraduate and graduate students during Innovation Week.

HOUGHTON, MI – February 2, 2021 –

16 Michigan Tech students, 4 minutes, and $7,000 worth of prize money on the line.

A highlight event of Michigan Tech’s Innovation Week, The Bob Mark Business Model Pitch event celebrates entrepreneurship and is a tribute to the late College of Business Professor of Practice Bob Mark who founded the competition in 2009.  

There were three categories of prizes: business model, social impact, and breakout innovation. The business model category looked at how well the solution addresses the customers’ needs, the path to revenue, and the overall presentation. The social impact category, funded by examining the significance of the social problem and how well the solution addressed it. The breakout innovation award, funded by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation or MEDC, considered the solution’s novelty, ease of implementation, and time to implementation.

Business Model Category 

Sponsored by Rick and Jo Berquist, with Dan and Jane Green sponsoring the Audience Favorite award.

  • First prize – Akhil Kurup with Sense ($2,000)
  • Second prize – Maggie Zimmermann  with Famealia ($1,000)
  • Third prize – Jakob Christiansen with ProBoard ($500)
  • Honorable Mention – Nick Peterson with NOMAD ($250) 
  • Audience Favorite – Maggie Zimmermann with Famealia ($250) 

Social Impact Award Category

Sponsored and presented by Dr. Elham Asgari, Gates Professor College of Business, with a $1,000 matching contribution from Arick Davis of Last Mile Cafe and Jake Northey of Creative Mines.

  • Bayle Golden with STEMPOWER ($2,000)

Breakout Innovation Award

Presented by the MTEC SmartZone and Sponsored by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (see photo).

  • Akhil Kurup with Sense ($1,000)

Bob Mark launched this competition as a way to try and push Tech students to reach for their entrepreneurial goals. Bob passed away suddenly in 2011, the competition lives on in his honor.


About MTEC SmartZone

Michigan Tech Enterprise Corporation (MTEC) SmartZone is one of 21 SmartZone Incubators in the State of Michigan. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization directed by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), its mission is to accelerate high-tech businesses growth in the region. Since 2003, MTEC SmartZone has provided mentoring, technical support, and other services to local companies that have led to the creation of over 800 high-tech jobs in the Houghton/Hancock area.