Elevator pitch competition winners gear up for next round

By Madison Baldwin, Chattanooga, Tenn. — Eight students competed in the second round of the Elevator Pitch Competition sponsored by the UTC CEO Club on Wednesday, Jan. 22 at the Hamilton County Small Business Development Center.

The Elevator Pitch Competition is a contest where students create a business model and pitch their idea to a panel of judges in 90 seconds.

UTC students Daniel Taylor, Donald Marsh, Jordan Grindell, Chandler Burke, Chelsea Larkins, Corey Raper, Andrew McPherson and Stuart French all competed for the prize of free consulting from The Company Lab and the partners at Lamppost Group, $2,000 of start up capital, and a trip to Tampa, Fla. to compete in the next round of competition.

Andrew McPherson, a Chattanooga senior, and Stuart French, a junior from Tampa, Fla., won the second round of the Elevator Pitch Competition with their pitch for an online video editor called Viditor. They explained during their presentation that Viditor would allow multiple users to access and edit video from the web on their phone, computer, or tablet.

“The competition has definitely been a learning experience. It’s also been a great networking opportunity and it’s helping to get the word out about Viditor,” French said.

McPherson, a Tampa native, said he is excited about going back to compete in his hometown.

Chelsea Larkins, a senior from Kingsport, Tenn., also scored a victory in round two of the competition with her pitch for Temp Tats, a line of organic tattoo ink. During her presentation, she explained that ink from Temp Tats would fade in two to three years and is less harmful for human skin than traditional tattoo ink, which contains traces of metal and plastic.

Larkins said, “I have really relied on my professors throughout this competition, they have grown into mentors rather than just classroom instructors. Competing has also allowed me to step out of typical college life and experience the way business works in the real world. I’ve really matured and it’s been such a blessing.”

AJ Davis, president of the UTC CEO Club, said the Elevator Pitch Competition encompasses what entrepreneurship really is by giving students the opportunity to build a skill base, learn core workplace values, advance new ideas and serve as an encouragement.

“The number of applications was smaller this year, but they were all really great. I’d take quality over quantity any day,” Davis said.

Dr. Beverly Brockman, head of the marketing and entrepreneurship department, organized the Elevator Pitch Competition with help from the CEO Club.

“Chattanooga is a great community for entrepreneurship,” Brockman said. “This is great experience for our entrepreneurship students, but this experience would be beneficial for students in every field of study. Everyone needs to know how to present an idea to their superior quickly and efficiently.”

The panel of judges at round two of the Elevator Pitch Competition was made up of individuals from several entrepreneurship and marketing organizations in Chattanooga.

One of the judges was Kathryn Foster, the director of Small Business and Entrepreneurship at the INCubator. Foster said that the panel applauded and commended each contestant for his or her courage to pitch an idea.

“What I saw today really speaks well of UTC, they’ve got some real rock stars down there,” Foster said.

The final Elevator Pitch Competition will take place on Feb. 21-22, 2014, at the University of Tampa in Tampa, Fla. For more information about the UTC CEO Club, visit http://www.utcceo.edu. For more information about the department of marketing and entrepreneurship, visit http://www.utc.edu/college-business/ or contact Dr. Brockman at bev-brockman@utc.edu.

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