Kent State Students Win Prizes for Elevator Pitch Event | Kent State University
Julia Hazel, Kent State junior communications major, won the prize for personal pitch during LaunchNET Kent State's elevator pitch competition.

Kent State Students Win Prizes for Elevator Pitch Event

Communication Studies Student Earns First Place for Personal Pitch

Kent​ ​State​ ​University​ ​students​ ​recently used University Library elevators to compete in the fifth annual LaunchNET Elevator Pitch event. ​The​ ​event,​ ​hosted​ ​by​ ​LaunchNET​ ​Kent​ ​State,​ ​gives students​ ​90 seconds to​ ​pitch​ ​a​ ​business​ ​idea​ or their personal skills ​to​ ​a​ ​panel of​ ​judges​ ​for​ ​the​ ​chance​ ​to​ ​win​ ​prize​ ​money. 

This event​ ​​has​ ​always​ ​been​ ​held​ ​in​ ​the​ ​library, but this​ ​was the first time that LaunchNET has occupied the building, having moved its offices there from the Kent Student Center earlier this year. ​ ​

Zaria​ ​Ware​, senior​ ​fashion​ ​merchandising student and LaunchNET​ ​student​ ​fellow,​ ​headed​ ​up​ ​the​ ​planning for​ ​the​ ​event.​ ​Judging​ ​the​ ​students’​ ​elevator​ ​pitches​ ​were​ ​Kristin​ ​Williams,​ ​executive​ ​director​ of Career​ ​Exploration​ ​and​ ​Development;​ ​Rachel​ ​O'Neill,​ ​marketing​ ​manager​ ​of​ ​Segmint​ ​Inc.​, Kent State alumna and​ ​former​ ​student​ ​fellow;​ ​and​ ​Marjorie​ ​Wachowiak,​ ​lecturer​ ​in​ ​Kent State’s School of Fashion​ ​Design​ ​and Merchandising. Business​ ​pitch​ ​winner​ ​Anne​ ​Skoch, senior ​fashion​ ​merchandising major,​ poses ​with​ ​the​ ​Elevator​ ​Pitch​ ​2017​ ​judges (from​ ​left)​ ​Marjorie​ ​Wachowiak,​ ​Rachel​ ​O'Neill​ ​and​ ​Kristin​ ​Williams.

Two​ ​$400​ ​prizes​ ​were​ ​awarded​ ​for​ ​Best​ ​Personal​ ​Pitch​ ​and​ ​Best​ ​Business​ ​Pitch to​ ​Julia​ ​Hazel, junior communication​ ​studies major (pictured above), and​ ​Anne​ ​Skoch, senior ​fashion​ ​merchandising major,​ ​respectively. Tanaka​ ​Mupinga​, biology graduate ​student, ​won​ ​$200​ ​as​ ​a​ ​Business​ ​Pitch​ ​runner-up.​ ​

​“Participating​ ​in​ ​LaunchNET’s​ ​Elevator​ ​Pitch​ ​was​ ​a​ ​nerve-racking,​ ​yet exhilarating​ ​opportunity​ ​to​ ​present​ ​my​ ​business,” says Ms. Skoch​, reflecting​ ​on​ ​the event. “I​ ​worked​ ​hard​ ​to​ ​create​ ​a​ ​pitch​ ​for​ ​this​ ​event that​ ​truly​ ​exemplified​ ​all​ ​aspects​ ​of​ ​my​ ​business,​ ​along​ ​with​ ​my​ ​story,​ ​in​ ​90​ ​seconds.”

“Most​ ​of​ ​the​ ​participants​ ​were​ ​nervous​ ​before​ ​pitching,​ ​but​ ​I​ ​think​ ​many​ ​of​ ​them​ ​realize​ ​that​ ​they are​ ​practicing​ ​a​ ​valuable​ ​life​ ​skill,”​ ​says​ ​Tabitha​ ​Martin, LaunchNET​ ​venture​ ​advisor.

Best Personal​ ​Pitch​ ​winner​ ​Ms. ​Hazel​ ​echoed​ ​the​ ​sentiment.​ ​

“​As​ ​a​ ​junior,​ ​this​ ​couldn't​ ​have​ ​come at​ ​a​ ​better​ ​time​ ​for​ ​me​ ​as​ ​I​ ​continue​ ​to​ ​strengthen​ ​and​ ​apply​ ​what​ ​I​ ​have​ ​learned​ ​in​ ​the classroom​ ​toward​ ​future​ ​professional​ ​development​ ​and​ ​career​ ​opportunities," Ms. ​Hazel says.

Twenty-two students​ ​participated​ ​in​ ​the​ ​competition,​ ​and​ ​a​ ​handful​ ​of​ ​others​ ​came​ ​to​ ​watch​ ​the pitches,​ ​which​ ​were​ ​streamed​ ​from​ ​the​ ​elevator​ ​to​ ​a​ ​TV​ ​near​ ​the​ ​LaunchNET​ ​office​ ​on​ ​the second​ ​floor​ ​of​ ​the University​ ​Library.​ ​Participants​ ​were​ ​cheered​ ​and​ ​applauded​ ​for​ ​their​ ​bravery​ ​by the​ ​crowd​ ​as​ ​they​ ​entered​ ​and​ ​exited​ ​the​ ​area,​ ​while​ ​representatives​ ​from​ ​the​ ​Writing Commons​ ​and​ ​the​ ​Case​ ​Western​ ​Reserve​ ​University​ ​IP​ ​Venture​ ​Clinic​ ​were​ ​on​ ​hand​ ​to​ ​give professional​ ​advice​ ​to​ ​students​ ​while​ ​they​ ​waited. 

Three​ ​audience​ ​awards​ ​were​ ​given​ ​out:​

  • ​Most​ ​Eco-Friendly​ ​to​ ​Jennifer​ ​Uren, junior marketing major, for​ ​Fabnetics
  • Most​ ​Polished​ ​to​ ​Leonitia​ ​Mason ​and​ ​Chinonso​ ​Aladi, both senior​ ​fashion​ ​design majors,​ ​for​ ​Vege-Ride
  • Best​ ​Sense​ ​of​ ​Humor​ ​went​ ​to​ ​Javon​ ​Miller, freshman advertising major,​ ​for Bovazi​ ​Handcrafted​ ​Pens​ ​and​ ​Pencils

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