Kent State Students Win Prizes for Elevator Pitch Event | e-Inside | Kent State University

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. 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, 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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