Elevator pitch competition rewards innovative ideas and compelling speeches

Seton Hill University’s (SHU’s) Elevator Pitch Competition III, Fall 2012 was held on Oct. 29 in Cecilian Hall. The competitors included freshmen and senior students, MBAs and those in the Adult Study Program.

Each competitor had 90 seconds to pitch their idea to the judges, without the help of cards, slides or props.

Michael Ponchan, MBA and adjunct instructor and entrepreneur-in-residence at SHU said that the goal of the competition was to “encourage students to take an idea they have for either business or charity and to work on that idea then learn how to get up and present it to people.” Pochan said the prize money “encourages and attracts students, and they will hopefully use the money to get their idea going.”

The third place winner, with a prize of $250 was Ryan McKee with the idea of creating an app to find local restaurants and bars.

Second place and $500 was awarded to Brent Wilson, who proposed the creation of a birthday party business that covers all of the customers needs, from sending out invitation and thank you cards to providing inflatable bouncy houses.

Melanie Leaseburg was the first place winner, receiving a prize of $1000 with her idea for a drive-through convenience store.

Leaseburg, a junior psychology major, said she came up with her idea because she is “constantly on the go, and there is nothing more painful than dragging your kids into the store to buy simple things.”

“If you can enter a drive-through for unhealthy fast food,” said Leaseburg, “then why can’t you for diapers and bread?”

The Elevator Pitch Competition Event III of Fall 2012 was sponsored by Seton Hill University, the Wukich Center for Entrepreneurial Opportunities, the Westmoreland County’s Keystone Innovation Zone and the U.S. Small Business Administration. The next competition will be held at SHU in the spring of 2013.

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