Ready, set, pitch!

Published April 10, 2014

It’s a nerve-wracking minute-and-a-half: You’re standing in a room full of aspiring entrepreneurs, you’re presenting an idea for a business to a panel of judges and you have just 90 seconds to do it.

That’s the type of drama UB’s second annual Elevator Pitch Competition will deliver.

The contest takes place at 1 p.m. April 16 in the Student Union Theatre, North Campus. Students from across the university can pitch business or other ideas that provide novel solutions to real-world challenges. No notes, slides or other visual aids are allowed.

It’s like ABC’s Shark Tank — only faster. At last year’s competition, the atmosphere was collegial but tense, with competitors practicing rapid-fire talks outside the room before taking the stage. There were meltdowns and mistakes, as well as moments of perfection.

This year, first-place winners will get a cash prize of $1,000.

“The pitch competition is part of a growing effort at UB to promote entrepreneurship, to realize the promise of UB 2020 and to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem in Western New York,” says Yong Li, academic director of the Entrepreneurship Academy and an associate professor of operations management and strategy in the School of Management.

The competition is sponsored by the Entrepreneurship Academy; the Office of Science, Technology Transfer and Economic Outreach (STOR); and the School of Management. Prizes are supported by the Bruce Holm Memorial Catalyst Fund.