Seconds to Success
Students hoping to secure start-up
funds for their entrepreneurial ideas will have 90 seconds
to sell their plans to a panel of judges this Wednesday,
March 12, during the fifth annual Elevator Pitch Contest.
The event, coordinated by the Women and Financial Independence
(WFI) program, awards cash prizes to the winners of the contest,
which simulates a hypothetical scenario of succinctly pitching
a business idea to a potential investor during a serendipitous
The Elevator Pitch Contest will take place from noon to
1 p.m. in Campus Center 103-104. The event is open to the
The winner of the contest
will receive a $100 cash prize offered by the Harold Grinspoon
Charitable Foundation, which encourages entrepreneurship
among young people. The winner of Smith’s contest will also go on to represent the
college at a regional 90-second pitch competition during
the Grinspoon Foundation’s annual banquet on April
15, at the Log Cabin in Holyoke.
will join contestants from 12 other schools in the region
competing for cash prizes of $1,000 for first place, $750
for second place and $500 for third.
Elevator Pitch contestants in both competitions will be
judged on the feasibility of their ideas and on the persuasiveness
of their pitch. They are not allowed to use note cards and
may not present a business they have already started. However,
they will have complete freedom to make up technologies and
funding sources that do not exist, as long as their ideas
are plausible and well informed.
Last year’s winner of the Smith contest, Rebecca Freeman ’09,
successfully pitched her idea for SipSafe, a drinking bottle
that includes a purifying straw that can protect tourists
against water-borne diseases. Freeman took third place at
the Grinspoon Foundation competition.
The Grinspoon Foundation also
funds the Entrepreneurial Spirit Awards, which provide grant
funding to support student businesses. Several Smith students
from a variety of majors have won Entrepreneurial Spirit
Awards totaling more than $15,000.