Alumni gift supports budding entrepreneurs

January 2019

A gift from a longtime Farmer School of Business supporter will help students who have a business idea and the entrepreneurial drive make their idea a reality.

Over the next four years, the George Heath Venture Pitch Competition Fund will provide $80,000 in prize money to the top three Miami University student-led startups that participate in the Venture Pitch Competition in the Fall and Spring semesters, as well as travel and related expenses to send the winning team from the Venture Pitch Competition to compete in at least one national startup pitch competition.

The Venture Pitch Competition provides a venue for student-founders to pitch their startups to ecosystem professionals from across the nation. Since its inception in 2014, Miami University student-founders have pitched more than 140 startups to angel investors, venture capitalists, startup accelerator directors, founders, and ecosystem builders. Student-led startups from the competition have landed spots in leading tech accelerators, including OROS, Devoo, Nomful, Apex Sports, and Swivel Ventures. Collectively, Venture Pitch Competition companies have raised more than $8M in early-stage funding over the past three years.

Heath, a retired Group President at Sherwin-Williams, received his MBA from Miami in 1990. He is a member of the Farmer School Business Advisory Council, has been a frequent guest lecturer at the Farmer School, and also now lectures on business, economics, and entrepreneurship at University School in Hunting Valley, Ohio.

“George is a great example of what we hope our graduates will be -- personally and professionally successful, while demonstrating a willingness to give back in service of others,” Institute of Entrepreneurship director Tim Holcomb noted. “His gift will enable the Institute for Entrepreneurship to expand and strengthen curricular and co-curricular programs for undergraduate student-founders, and is just one of the many ways George has given back to Miami University, the Farmer School, and the community.”

George Heath at Venture Pitch Competition