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Westmont Entrepreneurs Put Best Feet Forward

Shoe business plan awarded first place in school competition, moves on to national collegiate contest along with runner-up arts marketplace.

Four student venture teams from Westmont College’s entrepreneurship class presented their start-up business plans to a panel of outside reviewers, but in the end, one team ran away from the competition. Zipperz LLC, an innovative new trend in the casual shoe industry, claimed first place at the competition held at Kerrwood Hall last week.

The judges, Eli Eisenberg of StraightLine Management in Agoura Hills, Barry Fay of Aqua-Flo and Brain Azouz of PFS Inc., awarded second place to, an interactive Web site that brings patrons of the arts together with artists and galleries.

Both teams, Zipperz LLC and, will now enter national collegiate business plan events around the United States. The next competition is the Fifth Annual S.E.E.D. National Collegiate Venture Forum on March 7-8 at the Reagan Ranch Center & Conference Facility in Santa Barbara. There, nine of the best undergraduate and M.B.A.-level venture teams from around the country will present their start-up business plans to more than 40 venture capital, investment banking, hedge fund, private equity fund and angel investors.

At the 18th annual Westmont Collegiate Entrepreneurship Business Plan Competition, students made 15-minute PowerPoint presentations followed by 20 minutes of questions and critique from the panel.

Zipperz, targeted toward youth ages 6-16, allows the user to interchange shoe tops by zipping on and off a canvas upper that fits on a standard sole. connects artists, galleries and patrons who want to buy, sell, trade, lease, and promote a wide range of paintings, sculpture and other art pieces.

The competition is part of the Entrepreneurship and New Venture Development course at Westmont, taught by David Newton, professor of entrepreneurial finance, who founded the college’s entrepreneurship program in 1990.

Scott Craig is Westmont College’s media relations manager.

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