BUFFALO, N.Y. — How fast can you pitch an idea?
On April 10, University at Buffalo students will find out at a
Participants will get 90 seconds each to pitch an idea for
solving a problem to a panel of expert judges — including
entrepreneurs from the community.
Students can pitch business ideas or other ideas that provide
novel solutions to real-world challenges. No notes, slides or other
visual aids are allowed.
Winners will receive cash prizes, with $1,000 for first place.
The competition sets the stage for a new UB fellowship program
through which student entrepreneurs will be able to develop a
business plan and receive seed funding to start a business. (Learn
What: UB Elevator Pitch Competition (open to all
undergraduate and graduate students at UB). More than 50 students
have signed up to compete.
When: Wednesday, April 10, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Center for Tomorrow, UB North Campus
(building No. 53 in the purple sector of this map: http://www.buffalo.edu/buildings/maps/NorthCampus.pdf).
Sponsors: UB Entrepreneurship Academy; UB Office of
Science, Technology Transfer and Economic Outreach (STOR); Bruce
Holm Memorial Catalyst Fund.
Why: The pitch competition is part of a pipeline of new
university initiatives devoted to helping students become
entrepreneurs and start a business.
“We see an upsurge of interest in entrepreneurship among
students, and that's not only in Buffalo but in other universities
and even in high schools,” says UB Vice Provost Robert J.
Genco, who oversees STOR. “For example, 27 teams made
first-round pitches this year in our annual Panasci Competition for
student entrepreneurs. That’s a record.”
Here’s how the pitch competition complements other UB
initiatives, new and established:
— The pitch competition sets the stage for a new UB student entrepreneurship fellowship
program. Students interested in the fellowship —
including those who presented viable ideas in the pitch contest
— will have the chance to develop business plans with
guidance from experienced mentors. Those with the best plans will
become fellows, receiving seed funding and in-kind business and
accounting services to actually start a company. The first fellows
are expected to be selected in the 2013-14 academic year.
— The pitch competition prepares students for larger
entrepreneurship contests, such as the Henry A.
Panasci Jr. Technology Entrepreneurship Competition. This
annual event, hosted by the UB School of Management and STOR,
provides a winning team of student entrepreneurs with $25,000 and
in-kind services to start or advance a new business. Students,
faculty and the general public are welcome to attend the Panasci
live competition on April 19. Interested individuals can RSVP
to firstname.lastname@example.org or
— The pitch competition and related activities help
position students to apply for UB’s Western New
York Prosperity Scholarship Program, which promotes
economic growth by acquainting students with career opportunities
in local industries. This program, new in 2009, covers
students’ unmet educational expenses and supports summer
internships at leading local companies.
— The pitch competition supports the mission of
UB’s new Entrepreneurship
Academy, which launched in fall 2012 with 40 undergraduate
students. Students in the academy live together, enjoy the
opportunity to meet entrepreneurs in Western New York, and develop
plans for entrepreneurial endeavors.