Keller Williams Realty will take its entrepreneurial business model one step further this Saturday, April 26, 2014 as sponsor and presenter at the Harvard Extension Business Society (HEBS) Pitch Competition at Harvard’s Science Lecture Hall in Cambridge. Lynn Cohen, CEO and Team Leader of Keller Williams in Newton has been selected to be one of five accomplished thought leaders and venture proponents to offer feedback and coaching at the Pitch Challenge during HEBSPursuing Passion 2-day conference organized by Harvard’s oldest running student organization. HEBS and Keller Williams leaders have determined that start-up pioneers often seek flexible, enterprising careers as they pursue their ambitious dreams. These same entrepreneurs may require commercial space for business endeavors and residential real estate for personal or investment purposes too.
The Harvard Extension Business Society Pitch Challenge spotlights start-ups in the early stages of development – unlike some of the larger local accelerator programs and pitch events where business strategy is more fleshed out and often funded. The average age of Harvard Extension School students is 35; they have diverse backgrounds and work experience; and prefer entrepreneurial opportunities to corporate jobs. HEBS students are running the pitch event and have invited Harvard peers and local innovators to pitch their business concepts and benefit from start-up counsel and real life feedback from industry pioneers. At least three of last year’s pitch contestants were funded with several million dollars as a result of last year’s competition. Saturday’s conference runs from noon to 4:00p.m. with at least 14 entrepreneurs offering business pitches between 1:15 and 3:45pm. The event is free to the public and registration is encouraged http://hebs.dce.harvard.edu/
Keller Williams’ strategy is to align with entrepreneurs who are ready to seize unprecedented opportunity
in today’s market. Guided by a philosophy that the strongest enterprises are driven by top talent, Keller Williams is focused on building business relationships with the very best innovators across the Globe. Cohen’s office offers full-service to these up-and-comers. The diverse and driven team in the Newton office includes a HEBS leader, a Yale MBA with an $80million sales portfolio, a 21-year old Back Bay business owner double-majoring in entrepreneurial courses at Suffolk University, a professional poker player looking for new risks and rewards, and dozens of seasoned real estate veterans. “I am thrilled to be part of the HEBS panel and sit among some of the brightest minds in the entrepreneurial space today,” Lynn Cohen announced. “Harvard, Cambridge and Greater Boston are home to many great innovators and this pitch challenge, in particular, is known for helping start-ups in the earliest stages of creative enterprise. I look forward to offering encouragement and guidance to tomorrow’s business leaders.”
A former start-up business owner, Cohen brings manufacturing, distribution, online, retail and mentoring perspective to the panel. Joining her on the dais will be Linda Cureton, CEO and Founder of Muse Technologies, Inc. – an information technology consulting firm for both private and government sector organizations. Cureton is the former CIO of the Technology Department of NASA and the Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms Bureau (ATF). Rana el Kaliouby, Lead Inventor and Co-Founder of Affectiva, an emotion measurement technology company that grew out of MIT’s Media Lab and one of Entrepreneur Magazine’s 7 Most Powerful Women to Watch in 2014 is a panel member. Fourth panelist Kishan Mallur, Founder of Synctropy Corporation, teaches courses on Strategy and Entrepreneurship at Harvard and is a worldwide conference speaker who actively works with early stage startups. Rounding out the panel is Richard H. Goldman, a former partner and now senior counsel of Sullivan & Worcester, a prominent Boston law firm. Goldman has handled commercial real estate transactions for established businesses, start-up ventures, closely-held businesses and non-profit entities including sales, leasing and financing, Joint Ventures, Partnership and LLC Agreements. He currently speaks on real estate transactions and relevant matters.
Over the course of three short days, prospective presenters submit an application to HEBS, presenters are notified that they have been selected to pitch, and then they go before the distinguished panel with their 60-second value proposition – the proverbial elevator pitch. The audience will cast votes for their favorite contenders via a mobile phone survey application but the ultimate decision lies with the five panelists. While the panel deliberates after the first round – the audience will have the opportunity to try out el Kaliouby’s much-touted Affectiva technology; and a chance to discuss financing, small business loans and other resources for minority and female-owned start-ups with Massport Authority’s Director of Diversity, Kenn Turner. During the Hot Seat Round – four finalists will have 3-minutes to market their idea, followed by 3-minutes of questions and answers. Each team will be assessed and scored on market opportunity, understanding of competitors, product/service viability, knowledge of intellectual property assets, business model viability, overall attractiveness of the opportunity and presentation skills. The final presenters will receive both positive and negative feedback from the judges. The winner of the competition will receive $1000 – donated by Keller Williams Realty – and emerge as the 2014 Harvard Extension Business Society Pitch Champion.
About Keller Williams:
Keller Williams is the largest real estate franchise company in the United States with approximately 700 offices and 80,000 associates around the world. The company has grown exponentially since its 1983 start. Keller Williams continues to foster an agent-centric, education-based, technology-driven business strategy that rewards associates as stakeholders. Entrepreneur Magazine named Keller Williams to its Franchise 500 list for the fifth year in a row in 2013 and Inc. Magazinelisted the organization among its 5,000 fastest-growing companies in the United States for the fifth time since 2007. Keller Williams was ranked highest in overall satisfaction for buyers and sellers among national full service real estate firms in JD Powers’ most recent Proprietary Home Buyer/Seller Study.