Kent State Students Win Prizes for Elevator Pitch Event
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.
Two $400 prizes were awarded for Best Personal Pitch and Best Business Pitch to Julia Hazel, junior communication studies major, 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