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   Date: 4/30/10 Bookmark and Share

Smith Junior Takes Top Entrepreneurial Award



WFI press release:

Sarah Perkins '11 took first place and the $1,000 prize in the 7th Annual Collegiate Elevator Pitch Competition on Wednesday, April 28. The competition was held during the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation's Annual Entrepreneurship Initiatives Awards Banquet honoring student business owners.

Perkins, an economics and government double major, was one of the 13 students from colleges throughout the Pioneer Valley, including many with established business courses and entrepreneurial programs, to participate in the competition.

Each student had just 90 seconds to pitch a business idea to a panel of potential investors in front of 350 audience members at the Log Cabin banquet hall in Holyoke, Mass.

Perkins's idea: Si Bella Bras, a line of fashionable brassieres for voluptuous women, ergonomically designed to alleviate backaches and shoulder pains.

Perkins gained entry into the regional competition by first winning the $100 prize at the Smith Elevator Pitch contest on March 8. Following that event, she refined her pitch with the help of co-advisors for Smith Entrepreneurship Initiatives, René Heavlow, assistant director of Women & Financial Independence, the Smith Center for Financial Education, and Susannah Howe, director of the Picker Engineering Design Clinic.

This is not the first time Smith students have been successful at the regional competition, finishing in either second or third place in four of the past six contests. "Over the years, our students have had numerous great ideas and presented them with excitement," says Howe. "But Sarah brought a particular passion and confidence to her business concept. I truly enjoyed working with her to perfect her winning pitch."

Asked what she plans to do with her $1,100 in prize money, Perkins replied, "I going to invest the money in a money market account for now. I want to do a bit more market research before I have the first prototypes made."

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