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Alayna Ackley and Kyle Peterson, deputy director of the Beyond program

Fitness App Wins Virtual Business Funding Contest

by Lauren McGuire, Student Public Relations Writer

An app-based fitness plan using old school card game strategy was the winner at The Pitch, a new business funding competition held Labor Day weekend at Cedarville University.

First place winner was junior Alayna Ackley’s “Encore,” a simple, easy-to-use at-home workout game designed to motivate individuals and friends to exercise. Ackley received $1,000.

Senior Luke Schwan’s invention that electronically corrects and calibrates a scope on a rifle came in second place. Freshman Willem Vandermeij’s invention, the “Virtual Explorer," a simulation that elevates walking in a virtual reality environment, came in third. Both second and third place winners received $500. Freshman Andrew Yerkey’s pitch for a more economical method of escape rooms called the “Adventure Society” came in fourth place.

This was the Beyond Entrepreneurship Accelerator program’s third pitch contest, this time with a COVID-inspired twist. The competition, similar to ABC’s “Shark Tank,” featured judges reviewing each pitch remotely through Zoom.

“Allowing judges to participate remotely has allowed us to source judges from across the United States who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to attend,” said Kyle Peterson, deputy director of Entrepreneurship Accelerator.

Contestants were given five minutes to present their business ideas and an additional five minutes of questions from the judges. Presenters provided a brief presentation with a quick overview of a business plan and made a PowerPoint presentation that addresses the questions investors normally have.

The Pitch event, along with the Beyond program as a whole, equips students who may work in business, on a business-as-missions team or for themselves with startups they create. 

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 4,550 undergraduate, graduate and online students in more than 150 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, including the Master of Business Administration, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings and high student engagement ranking. For more information about the University, visit                                 

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