Createur Conference & Pitch Competition

April 15-16, '24

Createur Conference & Pitch Competition

Join us Monday, April 15 and Tuesday, April 16th at Olivet Nazarene University

Why Attend

  1. Connections – Build relationships with like minded, faith-driven peers and professionals.
  2. Opportunity Recognition – Discover how to identify potential new products or services that may lead to promising ventures.
  3. Entrepreneurial Alertness – Gain a readiness to act on existing but previously unnoticed business opportunities.
  4. Find Your Calling – Explore how God can use you to solve problems and serve people through entrepreneurship.
  5. Cash Prizes & Recognition – The prize pool for 2024 will total $15,000.

2024 Winners!

Following initial rounds of pitching their business ideas on Monday afternoon, 10 undergraduate entrepreneur finalists were selected to move forward in the competition on Tuesday morning. The final pitches were given in front of a large audience in Chalfant Hall and the winners were announced.

  • 1st Place: $5,000 Wayde Sickels, Olivet Nazarene UniversityCompany Name: Top Flight Drone Co.
  • 2nd Place: $4,000 Hayden Colclasure, Olivet Nazarene UniversityCompany Name: DelEndeavors
  • 3rd Place: $3,000 Cameron Lockrey, Calvin UniversityCompany Name: Kickback
  • 4th Place: $2,000 Deanna Grey, Taylor UniversityCompany Name: INO Bar
  • 5th Place: $1,000 Jared Sisson, Taylor UniversityCompany Name: Shepherd Security

A special Tiger Award was awarded to Emmet Wolff (Olivet Nazarene University) in the College Division to spotlight a business idea with the best use of technology, innovation, growth in emerging markets and engineering.

Additionally, a vCalc Startup Metrics Award was given to Jacob Vander Sanden (University of Iowa) for a business with the best use of mathematics and calculations in the pitch presentation and plan.

I have one word... WOW. As an up and coming professional, I had an opportunity to learn, grow, think, network and become closer to my future self in my future career. I will forever remember this conference.

Spark Sessions & Keynote

Gain insights from visionary keynote speakers:

  • Auntie Anne Beiler: Founder of Auntie Anne’s® Pretzels
  • Brett Hagler: CEO and Co-founder of New Story
  • Justin Donald: The Lifestyle Investor

PLUS, dive into engaging expertise from 20+ Spark Session speakers



Just spent a great 2 days at the Createur conference at Olivet Nazarene University. I learned a lot from all of the successful business starters who also have a servant's heart for Christ. So happy Olivet was able to host this event and I hope they do it again next year!

Pitch Competition

Can I pitch if I don’t have a business started yet? Yes!

  • Who?:
    • High School Students
    • College Students
    • ONU Alumni
  • What?:
    • Ideas
    • Products
    • Services
  • Why?:
    • Cash prize pool of $15,000

Winning Contestants

Sierra Harris: KMH Series $4000 (ONU Alumni)
Lextin Willis: CordPuck $3000 (Taylor University Undergraduate Student)
Faith Markley: Daisy Hill Fragrances $2000 (ONU Undergraduate Student)
Wade Frances: Godspeed Supplements $1000 (Taylor University Undergraduate Student)
RW Rienow: Tribal $500 (ONU Alumni)

Apply to Pitch Today!

Applications for 2024 are officially open

  • Submit your application.
  • Submit answers to application questions.

Currently, we are seeking applications for Foundeurs in the following stages:

  1. Idea Stage:
    You are only getting started with your business if you are in the “Ideation” stage. You preparing to introduce your first product to the market, or you might have a functional prototype or pilot.
  2. Pre-revenue Stage:
    If you are in the pre-revenue stage, you may have a prototype, pilot, or first product, but you may not yet be making money from clients.
  3. Early Stage:
    You have a product or service, you’re making money, and you’re trying to scale if you’re at the early stage of proven demand.

Round One: Online Judging, March 1st-March 8th

  • A remote judging round based on the application questions.
  • Judges will evaluate on concept, deliverability, how the company solves a problem, business model, and investability.
  • Up to 20 teams will be notified if advancing to the semi-final round.
  • Application deadline is March 1st

Round Two: Semi-finals, April 15th, 2024

  • Selected semi-finalists (up to 20 teams) will be notified by March 24, 2023.
  • Each semi-finalist will pitch their ideas to a live panel of investor judges on campus.
  • Judging will be based on a 5 minute pitch, pitch deck, and 5 minutes of Q&A.
  • The top two teams from each group will advance to the Finals.

Round Three: Finals, April 16th, 2024 

  • Finalist teams will present to a panel of judges.
  • Order of presentation will be randomly selected.
  • Teams will get 5 minutes to pitch and 5 minutes of Q&A

Winners Announced, April 16th, 2024
The 2024 prize pool will total $15,000

  • High School Division  $5,000
    • The total amount will be split among the top 3 winners as well as the winner of the Nazarene Youth Award. Only high schoolers affiliated with a Nazarene church are eligible for the Nazarene Youth Award.
    • Nazarene Youth Award (High school student affiliated with the Nazarene Church): $250
  • College & Career Division $10,000
    • The total amount will be split among the top 3 winners in the Business as Mission track as well as the For-Profit Business track and the Tiger Spirit award. Only current Olivet students are eligible for the Tiger Spirit Award.
    • Business as Mission Track
    • For Profit Business Track
    • Tiger Spirit Award (ONU students only): $250

All currently enrolled college or university students and Olivet Nazarene University Alumni are eligible to compete. Affiliation with the business school is not required. Pitches can be from individuals or teams.

All business concepts must be created, managed, and owned by the participant/team who is registered for the competition. (At least 50% ownership is required by a college or university student or  ONU Alumni)

Team Rules:
Teams may consist of 2-6 students or Alumni. At least one participant is required to be a currently enrolled student or have graduated from ONU.

Teams are to designate one person to be the team lead. This team member will be the point of contact for the competition.

Competition Rules:
Round One will take place online. All participants who meet the submission criteria by the deadline will compete in the online round. Participants advancing to the next round will be notified.

Round Two Semi-finals will take place live on ONU campus. Participants will be divided into randomly selected competition tracks with a separate panel of judges. The 5 minutes to pitch and 5 minutes of Q&A will be strictly enforced. The top two teams from each track will advance to the finals. Feedback will be provided and then may be used to revise final presentations.

Round Three Finals will have the top teams pitch live to judges on the main stage.  The 5 minutes to pitch and 5 minutes of Q&A will be strictly enforced. The team’s presentation order will be randomly chosen.

Teams may have up to two presenters for the final presentation.

Judging is based on but not limited to: originality, concept feasibility, business model, market opportunity, competitive advantage, presentation and well-researched.

Fees and Expenses:
There is no charge to participate in the competition or to attend. Participants are responsible for their own travel, meals and housing.

Faculty/Staff/Outside Advisors:
Participants are encouraged to seek outside advice. Advisors may attend the event and must register separately.

Olivet Nazarene University does not assume any responsibility nor can provide any guarantees in regards to confidentiality. All sessions and competitions are open to the public which may include radio, television, or internet.
Judges will use discretion with information, but cannot guarantee non-disclosure.

All affiliates and organizers of the conference may use photographs, video/audio in any book or other printed materials and any digital or physical medium that they produce.

These Rules and Guidelines may be updated at any time.

Conference Schedule

Campus Map

Question? Call/Text The Createur Hotline: ‭(719) 244-6454‬

Day 1: Monday, April 15th

7:00 am: Check-in (Weber Center)

8:00 am: Opening Ceremony with Keynote Anne Beiler (Chalfant Hall)

9:00 am: Spark Session 1 (Weber Center)

  • Purple Room Speaker: Kyle Lingle and Cam Delbridge | The Art of Imperfect Entrepreneurship
  • Gold Room Speaker: Jacob Salem | How This Newbie Entrepreneur Launched His Multi-Million Dollar Empire From Nothing
  • White Room Speaker: Caleb Benoit | Navigating the Brick-and-Mortar Maze
  • Black Room Speaker: Brandon Yoder and Marc Dume | Choosing the Right Partner 
  • Red Room Speaker: Mark Bottles | How to Build and Grow Multiple Real Estate Companies Debt-Free                                                 

10:00 am: Spark Session 2 (Weber Center)

  • Purple Room Speaker: Sam Kwak | Having God as Your Business Partner                                                        
  • Gold Room Speaker: Tom Meyer  | Life is a Sale                                                             
  • White Room Speaker: Demetri Morris | How to Build a Successful Business and Pay Off Student Loans After Graduation                                                       
  • Black Room Speaker: John Keigher | From Startup to Successful Exit-Why Culture Matters!                                                        
  • Red Room Speaker: Justin Donald | Lifestyle Investor Foundations                                                             
  • Gray Room Speaker: Kurt Heckman | How to Start and Grow a Professional Service Business

11:00 am: Lunch (Ludwig Dining Room & Weber Lawn)

12:15 pm: Live Podcast Keynote with Justin Donald (Chalfant Hall)

1:00 pm: Spark Session 3 (Weber Center)

  • Purple Room Speaker: Dave, Sonya, and Madison Comer | Franchise and Family                                                    
  • Gold Room Speaker: Luke Quanstrom | Funding your Startup                                                           
  • White Room Speaker: Tony Allegro | Working through the Power of God through the Dynamics of your Business
  • Black Room Speaker: Scott and Tyler Lingle                                                         
  • Red Room Speaker: Rich Hill  | A Behind-the-Scenes Story of the Iconic Cloudgate (Bean) Project 
  • Gray Room Speaker: Warren Ouwenga | Journey to Successful Entrepreneurship                                                        

2:00 pm: Competition Break Out Rooms (Round 1) (Weber Center)

3:00 pm: Judges Meeting (Weber Leadership Center)

4:00 pm: Ribbon Cutting for the Crawford Startup Studio (Weber Lounge)

5:00 pm: Evening Ceremony with Keynote Brett Hagler (Chalfant Hall, doors open at 4:30pm)

  • High School Pitch Competition Awards & Recognition
  • College and Alumni Pitch Competition Finalists Announced

6:00 pm: Biz Block Party

  • Pop-up Retail Expo for Student Startups
  • My Startup Story Interactive Exhibits
  • Createur Comedy Club Powered by Spoons 4 Forks (7:00 pm – 8:00 pm)
  • Food Trucks (Voucher included with registration)

Day 2: Tuesday, April 16th

9:30 am: Spark Session 4 (Weber Center)

  • Purple Room Speaker: Daniel Kwak | Hearing from God in Your Professional Journey                            
  • Gold Room Speaker: Melvin Johnson | Becoming You: Your Greatest Equitable Asset Is You
  • White Room Speaker: James Webb  | AI and the Future of Creativity                               
  • Black Room Speaker: Michelle Klavohn  | More than Chicken: Building Business the Chick-fil-a Way                                               
  • Red Room Speaker: Jon Klavohn | Entrepreneurship: Marathon and Sprint

10:30 am: Final Round of the Pitch Competition (Chalfant Hall)

12:45 pm: Refreshments and Post Conference Networking for Pitch Contestants (Weber Leadership Center)

Auntie Anne Beiler Foundeur of Auntie Anne’s® Pretzels
Brett Hagler CEO and Co-Foundeur of New Story
Justin Donald The Lifestyle Investeur
World-Class Keynotes + 24 Proven Entrepreneurs

Spark Session Speakeurs

Amber Holup-Niewinski

Amber Holup-Niewinski

Real Estate Investor and Realtor
Brad Seaman

Brad Seaman

CEO and Co-founder of MonsterConnect
Brandon Yoder

Brandon Yoder

Strategist at Skypoint Transit
Caleb Benoit

Caleb Benoit

Founder of Connect Roasters
Cam Delbridge

Cam Delbridge

Account Executive at Renovia
Daniel Kwak

Daniel Kwak

Real Estate Investor and Co-owner of The Kwak Brothers
Dave Comer

Dave Comer

Owner of FASTSIGNS of Kankakee
Demetri Morris

Demetri Morris

Founder and CEO of MORR
Hayden Rankin

Hayden Rankin

Owner of Nice Shirt Thanks LLC
Jacob Salem

Jacob Salem

Founder and CEO of EZMetrics
James Webb

James Webb

Director of Creators and Communities at Jauntboards
Jeff Forgrave

Jeff Forgrave

Founder of Marble Genius
John Keigher

John Keigher

CEO, Board Member, Advisor, Investor
Jon Klavohn

Jon Klavohn

Owner/Operator of Chick-fil-A Bradley Bourbonnais
Kurt Heckman

Kurt Heckman

President of vCalc
Kyle Lingle

Kyle Lingle

Business Development Representative at IronClad
Luke Quanstrom

Luke Quanstrom

CEO and Co-founder of Ontic
Madison Atkinson

Madison Atkinson

General Manager of FASTSIGNS of Kankakee
Marc Dume

Marc Dume

Creator at Skypoint Transit
Mark Bottles

Mark Bottles

Owner of Mark Bottles Real Estate Services, LLC
Melvin Johnson

Melvin Johnson

Founder and CEO of Maaj Capital
Michelle Klavohn

Michelle Klavohn

Co-Owner of Chick-fil-A Bradley Bourbonnais
Rich Hill

Rich Hill

President of
Sam Kwak

Sam Kwak

Real Estate Investor and Co-owner of The Kwak Brothers
Scott Lingle

Scott Lingle

Co-founder and Chairman of Remodel Health
Sonya Comer

Sonya Comer

Owner of FASTSIGNS of Kankakee
Tom Meyer

Tom Meyer

Senior VP SBA Division Manager at Centrust Bank N.A.
Tony Allegro

Tony Allegro

COO and President of All-Star Management DBA Wendy’s
Warren Ouwenga

Warren Ouwenga

Lifelong Business Owner and Developer

Createur Podcast

The Createur Podcast is a dynamic and inspiring Christian entrepreneurship podcast that aims to empower young professionals to unleash their entrepreneurial potential. With a focus on innovation, growth and personal development, The Createur Podcast is dedicated to providing valuable content at the intersection of faith and business.

The podcast is hosted by Spencer James, undergraduate student, and Karli Byrd, graduate assistant. Anyone with a faith-driven entrepreneurial mindset can listen to it on all the major streaming platform. The first episode is available now with new episodes every week.

Listen On Your Favorite Platform!

Where Faith and Business Meet

Student-Made Song

Official Createur Conference Anthem ‘24

by Jordan Warren, Class of 2025

Official Createur Conference Anthem ‘23

by Hayden Colclasure, Class of 2025

Had a blast at the Createur conference here at Olivet Nazarene University can't wait to have it again next year and maybe present a pop up shop or compete! Thank you to all of the speakers for this event and I hope to be in contact with the speakers who I reached out to soon!

Thanks To Our Partners

Village of Manteno Village of Bourbonnais The Daily Journal Milner Media Partners, LLC Kankakee Chamber Economic Alliance of Kankakee CCCU

2024 Sponsors

vCalc PathFinder LivePlan Converge Leadership

Represented Ventures

The Kwak Brothers Spry, Inc. Remodel Health Nice Shirt. Thanks! MORR Agency McColly Bennett Commercial Real Estate Marble Genius EZMetrics Connect Roasters