Lowell Stahl

Celebrating the fruits of his vision and dedication, Christian Brothers Services (CBS) honored its founder, Br. Joel Damian, FSC, with an endowment to Lewis University in the spring of 2019. This significant gift was directed at supporting the long-running student focused business plan competition within the College of Business, being renamed, “Brother Joel Damian, FSC, Business Plan & Pitch Competition.” Br. Damian was a pioneer of his time and was instrumental as an entrepreneur in creating Christian Brothers Services, a nonprofit organization that provides a range of benefit plans within the areas of health, retirement and property/casualty, to name a few, to congregations, organizations and dioceses within the Catholic Church here in the United States and Canada.

In 1966, Damian came to Lewis University to establish the national headquarters of the Christian Brothers and also to erect a Novitiate and Scholasticate. He was on the first board of directors at then Lewis College and helped move Lewis to University status as a trustee. He was named executive secretary of Christian Brothers Conference and it was then that he established employee benefit programs for Christian Brothers' lay associates and was consulted by numerous dioceses in establishing retirement plans for their priests and employees. Damian died in 1991 at age 73, having been a De La Salle Christian Brother for 58 years.

Br. Joel Damian Business Plan & Pitch Competition

This University-wide competition is open to all currently enrolled undergraduate and graduate students at Lewis.  The business plan competition is where students formulate an idea, develop a business plan, and pitch their idea to a panel of judges. There is also a Business Pitch Competition where participants have 7 minutes to share their idea to the panel of judges.   The winners from the Business Plan and Business Pitch will be competing for up to $25,000 value in cash awards and in-kind space in the Lewis University Regional Business Incubator, to help launch their ideas!

The Br. Joel Damian Business Plan & Pitch Competition is open to all currently enrolled undergraduate and graduate students, in good standing, at Lewis University.  Entry to either competition is open to students from all Colleges, all majors and all programs are encouraged to enter. It is our desire that the Br. Damian Business Plan & Pitch Competition be an exceptional learning experience for our students. 

Participants may compete in the Br. Damian Competition as individuals or as teams. Those participating are encouraged to build a strong team with a variety of strengths and skill sets. A maximum of 7 team members may compete on each team. Each team must be mentored by a faculty or staff member affiliated with Lewis University or an alumni of Lewis University or a member of the Christian Brothers.

Lewis University student(s) must be involved in the business planning process, supporting efforts to conduct market research, developing the business model, and writing the required business plan. There is a maximum of eight individuals/teams within the business plan portion that can advance to the Celebration of Scholarship to compete for the top prizes; and a maximum of twelve individuals/teams within the business pitch competition that can compete.

Br. Damian Business Plan & Pitch Competition Eligibility Policies

Eligible Business Ideas/Ventures

Students may submit business ideas in any field, including services, manufacturing, distribution, health care, Internet, consumer products, retail, technology, and other fields of commercial or social-enterprise endeavors.  The Committee and/or the Lewis University Administration, in their sole discretions, may eliminate any entries, to either competition, that are inconsistent with the teachings and doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church, the Christian Brothers, Lewis University or any federal, state or local laws and regulations.

Past Participants

Past participants in the Br. Damian Competition may enter the same venture in subsequent competitions only if the business model has changed significantly in response to feedback provided.

Awarded Prizes

All Contestants, in order to participate, agree via their signed application form to the rules, regulations, terms and conditions. In addition, the winner must sign the Winner’s Agreement form (if selected). Should the Competition’s Selection Committee (“Committee”) and/or Judges determine no business plan or pitch is acceptable; the Committee in its sole discretion reserves the right to declare no winner and to not award prizes to any student entrants.

Lewis University Faculty & Staff

Any new venture submission based on or incorporating university intellectual property must follow the Lewis University IP Policy.

Eligibility will be determined at the sole discretion of the Br. Damian Business Plan & Pitch Competition Executive Committee.

Please email business@lewisu.edu  if you have questions or need additional information.

NOTE: Deadline for BOTH competitions is: February 16, 2022.


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