Our inaugural “Elevator Pitch” Competition made the front page of the Evening News today. As a former Business College Dean and entrepreneur, I have created entrepreneurship programs/ organized business plan competitions at three different institutions. Each one of those programs benefited students as well as the community. It is important to note that the concept of entrepreneurship is not limited to business; entrepreneurship is about creativity and innovation in any field. I hold fast to the belief that entrepreneurship and education are the keys to economic growth (they are not mutually exclusive).
Last night, we held our first “Elevator Pitch” competition. As we discussed the idea of implementing this concept, I insisted that we make it happen sooner rather than later. Education is slow in implementation while entrepreneurship must be quick and nimble, so we made it happen. The success exceeded my expectations. Each contestant was given two minutes to pitch their idea to the judges, with an additional three minutes to answer questions.
There were nine contestants, who included high school students, MCCC students, and community members. The ideas ranged from life-saving medical devices to alcohol infused cakes. First place went to Eric Alexius whose idea is software to organize sheet music for bands and choirs. Second place went to Lawrence White who is creating a system to allow easy referral from customers for banks and mortgage companies by adding a personal artistic touch. Third place went to Alexis Stock, whose idea is alcohol infused cupcakes. The winners were awarded scholarships and cash prizes ranging from $350 to $1,500.
At the forefront of organizing the event were Barry Kinsey, Paul Knollman, Josh Myers, and Joe Verkennes. Special thanks to our blue-ribbon panel of judges: Doug Chaffin, President of MB& T Bank, Tim Lake, President of the Monroe County Business Development Corporation, Marge Kreps, MCCC Board member, and Paul Knollman, MCCC, Dean of Business.
The competition was highly successful and definitely enriched the lives of the competitors (not only the winners) and their families – that is our mission. We need more events of this nature that draw the community to this place of intellectual excellence. Please join me in congratulating the winners and thanking the judges and organizers. It is important to continue encouraging EVERYONE so we all have a mindset of how we get things done, not why we cannot get things done. Let us continue to find ways of enriching lives as we take the entire Monroe County Community to the next level.