One Met Square in downtown St. Louis was abuzz with students armed with pitches for the "next best thing" and successful entrepreneurs and investors on hand to listen and evaluate their ideas during a 30-second elevator ride to the top of the tallest building in Missouri.
The event, sponsored by the Center for Entrepreneurship at Saint Louis University's John Cook School of Business, took place Sunday, Dec. 15.
Twenty-four SLU students, including one from the University's campus in Madrid, Spain, and two other international students, lined up for their turn in the elevator and the opportunity to receive cash awards.
Tim Hayden, Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, said that the benefits of the competition go far beyond the experience of the day.
"All 24 students were awesome," Hayden said. "We kept telling them that even though they would all walk with at least $250, the real prize was the chance to network with all of these tremendous business leaders, entrepreneurs, investors and people who could change their lives."
Hayden also was thrilled with the participation of the experienced investors andentrepreneurs who served as judges for the competition, and who could help inspire them to become a part of the local business community.
‘We had 36 judges on 12 elevators," Hayden said. "We told them that the majority of the 24 SLU students were not from St. Louis. Yet these are some of best and brightest future entrepreneurs. So their goal was to keep them here after graduation. Get to know them. Mentor them. Offer them advice."
The judges ranged from wise entrepreneurs like Maxine Clark (Build-A-Bear), Tom Hillman (FTL Capital), Bud Albers (Disney), Delon Dotson (Netscape & MP3.com) AND Lewis Levey (Enhanced Value Strategies) to the new generation of entrepreneurs like Brian Nottingham (ShipWorks), Khalia Collier (St. Louis Surge), Chris Sommers (Pi Pizza), Tricia Zimmer (Kaldi's) and Matthew Porter (Contegix).
Maxine Clark, founder of Build-A-Bear Workshop and Chair of the Build-A-Bear Foundation, was thrilled with the competition, the incredible wealth of student ideas and the winner.
"The ‘Real' Elevator Pitch competition was a fun (and fast) way to get the inside scoop on what the best entrepreneurship students in St. Louis are thinking about," Clark said.
"The winner was well deserving and I was so excited I was ready to write a check on the spot to get this great idea in gear."
Junior business major Emily Muhoberac, who was named the first place winner and received $2,500 for her Anti-Theft Bike Lock + App concept, found participating in the competition an incredible experience.
"Although I thoroughly enjoyed holding a giant check, I believe the opportunity created by this competition is phenomenal for all the students that competed," Muhoberac said.
"We had the privilege of networking and pitching to some of the most influential people in St. Louis. Competitions like these are what make the SLU Center for Entrepreneurship stand out. I'm so thankful to be part of that!"
Muhoberac also works at Apple as one of their "Geniuses." Click here to view her pitch.
Seniors Ben Albers and Madeline Sciortino tied for second place winning $2,000 each for the Case Coolie (Albers) and the Personal Allergen Tester (Sciortino).
Learn more about the 'Real' Elevator Pitch Competition
All SLU students are encouraged to participate in the campus-wide, ‘Real' Elevator Pitch competition. The first round is a 30-second video submission, and the Final Round is an in-person. The finalists pitch their ideas on real elevators to real investors in Missouri's tallest building (40 floors). This idea was exciting enough to catch the attention of a reality TV production company, and they created a reality show pitch for the networks.
For more information, contact the Center for Entrepreneurship at (314) 977-3850 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
|SLU students cue up for the 'Real' Elevator Pitch Competition Sunday,Dec. 15 at the One Met Square building in downtown St. Louis.|