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Student Elevator Pitch Olympics Gives Quick Glimpse of Unique Business Ideas


Delivering a 30-second speech would seem to be easy, or at least manageable, compared to a lengthy presentation. 

Yet on Friday, April 26 in room S211, the complexities of delivering an effective 30-second elevator pitch – where  every word counts – became apparent as students presented their ideas before a panel of judges during the Connecticut Business Competition and Entrepreneurs Conference at Gateway Community College.  Prizes available to the winners of the elevator pitch competition were $600 for first place, $400 for second place and $200 for third place.  Scores were provided to participants immediately following their pitches, with some students revealing disappointment in their pitches while others looked hopeful as they eyed the laminated sheets showing the score from each judge. 

The competition, dubbed the Student Elevator Pitch Olympics, provided students with 30 seconds to describe a problem, a solution, and a synopsis of how the solution works.  Drew Harris, Acting Associate Dean of Central Connecticut State University, cautioned students that this would not be the recommended time to seek investment capital. 

The room erupted with applause and cheering as about 30 budding entrepreneurs took on the challenge of delivering a succinct and convincing statement about the reason why their business is needed and how their concept solves an existing problem.  Problems requiring solutions ran the gamut from clearing up the annoying and embarrassing problem of back acne to finding a healthier, less guilt-invoking version of cheesecake.  The energy and creativity in the room was palpable.  Selling a solution and not knowing whether the judges relate to the problem proved nerve-wracking, but participants rose to the occasion.

The Entrepreneurship Foundation sponsored the Connecticut State Business Plan Competition, which is in its 23rd year.  Students from 12 state colleges and universities competed in eight categories for $30,000 and $10,000 in startup service awards.  The 23rd annual Business Competition and Conference took place in N100 after the competition and included workshops and mentoring on a range of topics, including sources of capital, crowdfunding, creating a brand that sells and steps to success.  Experts on hand for the event included experienced entrepreneurs, investors, attorneys and business experts. 

Mike Roer, President of the Entrepreneurship Foundation, said that he was very excited about changes made this year, which expanded the scope and content of the event.  The lead sponsor of the event was CT Next.   

“Students can make tremendous business connections and glean valuable information just from conversations with experts in any of a variety of different disciplines, as they look to turn their business dreams into realities,” Roer said. 

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