Student entrepreneurs from top universities from the U.S., Canada and abroad will compete for cash prizes to help turn their ideas into innovations during the 12th Annual Wake Forest University Schools of Business Elevator Competition on March 25-26.
On Saturday, March 26, starting at 8 am, student teams will have to think fast, speak clearly and spark interest in their ideas as they make two-minute elevator pitches while riding in an elevator at the BB&T tower in downtown Winston-Salem, N.C. Competitors also supply a detailed business plan and prepare a formal presentation. Finalists get to make a 25-minute presentation in a boardroom filled with competition judges.
Thirty-seven teams will compete this year with 24 participating in the Traditional Business track and 13 in the Social Entrepreneurship track.
The Elevator Competition is a student-run event organized and produced by 2nd year co-chairs: Will Dow (MBA ’11), Chris Van Roekel (MBA ’11) and Roy Hykal (MBA ’11) with a team of MBA, MA and undergraduate steering committee members and more than 50 other student volunteers. The faculty advisor is Stan Mandel, a professor of practice at Wake Forest University Schools of Business and director of the Angell Center for Entrepreneurship.
“It really is a student-run effort…we have been meeting on a weekly basis since the beginning of September and now that the competition is less than a month away, all of us are very excited to see it happen!” said Hykal (right).
Wake Forest University Schools of Business will welcome back Colin Gillespie (MBA ’00) as part of the Leading Out Loud Broyhill Executive Lecture Series when he delivers the keynote address for the Elevator Competition on Friday, March 25, at 6 pm in the Deacon Tower at BB&T Field. Gillespie is the senior director of marketing for LEGO Direct to Consumer and will share his 11-year journey with LEGO that has taken him both around the world, and the company. In his current role, he is the driver for developing LEGO’s global direct to consumer strategy and is responsible for building innovative consumer experiences and identifying the growth potential created by these experiences.
The weekend of Elevator Competition activities can be followed by reading blog updates, watching videos from the elevator pitches and other activities, and voting for the “Fan Favorite” on ElevatorCompetitionLive.com.
Winners will be announced Saturday, March 26, at 7 pm during a ceremony at the Marriott located in downtown Winston-Salem. The first place Traditional Business Plan winner will receive $20,000 cash and the highest placing team with an MBA student will receive automatic entry into the Venture Labs Investment Competition. In addition, the winning team can qualify for up to a $500,000 investment from the Piedmont Angel Network. The Social Entrepreneurship top finisher will receive $10,000 cash, and will advance to the final screening round of the Echoing Green Foundation’s business plan competition.
Sponsors include Altria, BB&T, B/E Aerospace, Broyhill Family Foundation, Burt’s Bees, Checkpoint, Lowe’s, Piedmont Angel Network, Truliant Federal Credit Union and Vino Del Sol.