Southeast’s Engagement Center Announces LaunchU Pitch Competition Winners


The Economic and Business Engagement Center at Southeast Missouri State University presented two $500 cash prizes, provided by course sponsor Isle Casino of Cape Girardeau, to Krista LeGrand and David Rook, first and second place respectively in the pitch competition component of the LaunchU entrepreneurship training course.

“While the course was fast-paced, the environment was non-intimidating, and I appreciated the many resources presented and details covered,” said LeGrand of Cape Girardeau, Missouri. “I especially enjoyed interaction with other aspiring entrepreneurs. I plan to continue a relationship with the Small Business and Technology Development Center.”

LaunchU is an 18-hour hands-on course that coaches aspiring and early-stage entrepreneurs through the business planning process to determine business feasibility, including the actual development of a professional, Small Business Administration-approved business plan, pitch and financial forecast. At the end of the recent cohort held at Southeast’s Engagement Center, located at 920 Broadway in Cape Girardeau, several of the class participants competed with their pitches in front of a judging panel comprised of local business professionals.

“The course was very helpful for me in several ways,” said Rook a Southeast junior management major, entrepreneurship option, from St. Louis, Missouri. “I realized that there are several available resources for starting a business, including logo development, data and website development. It was enlightening to hear from local, established entrepreneurs on the specifics, legalities and details involved in the start-up process.”

The recent cohort had 13 participants who completed the course and five who participated in the pitch competition component.

The class schedules for the next LaunchU courses are currently being developed. Interested participants and sponsors are asked to contact Project Coordinator Kelli Behrle at (573) 651-2287 or

Photo Caption: From left are Lyle Randolph, of the Isle Casino of Cape Girardeau; David Rook, second place winner of the LaunchU course; Krista LeGrand, first place winner of the LaunchU course; and Ginger Albrecht, of the Isle Casino.