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Students and future entrepreneurs from across Maine can learn about pitching a business idea, debunking startup myths, attracting capital, and many other fundamentals of business success during Colby College’s first ever Entrepreneurship Expo April 7 in the Diamond Building.

What began as an annual pitch competition for Colby student teams has grown exponentially thanks to burgeoning interest in entrepreneurship among college students across the state, said Alisa Johnson, director of Colby College’s Career Center.

“We decided a standalone competition was not enough to satisfy the growing interest, not just on campus but in Waterville and Maine as a whole,” Johnson said. “At Colby alone, we doubled the number of teams entering our pitch competition.”

The result is a half day of activities designed to attract, educate, and inspire both students and community members. The popular pitch competition will cap off an afternoon of exciting speakers, networking opportunities, and a showcase of Maine entrepreneurs.

Speakers slated to appear from 2 to 5:30 p.m. include Jess Knox of Venture Hall, a nonprofit incubator in Portland; Jim Satloff, executive chairman of InvestorForce in New York; Jeff Howard, founder of Attic Ventures of Boston; Dominic Endicott, managing partner of Nauta Capital in Boston; Corley Hughes, COO of Product Hunt and former GM of business operations at Microsoft, leaders from Waterville’s technology consulting firm CGI, and experts from corporate law firm Preti Flaherty.

Later guests can watch students from Maine colleges pitch ideas to guest judges and mingle at a networking reception. At 7 p.m. nine finalists will square off in Ostrove Auditorium in a competition to win up to $15,000 in seed money.

One of last year’s winners, Young Yoon, now a senior at Colby, successfully launched and funded his company after winning Colby’s competition. Eazel, a streaming platform, which lets users view popular museum exhibitions and galleries on virtual reality devices such as the Samsung Gear VR and Google Cardboard, will be his employer when he graduates.

The event is free of charge and open to the public, but registration is required at colby.edu/careercenter.