Activities & Organizations

Sales competition pitches prizes

UH students were tested Saturday to see if they could sell an idea in two minutes or less.

The second annual Cougar Pitch Competition, sponsored by the Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship at the C.T. Bauer College of Business, featured fifteen finalists split into two categories and put before a panel of judges in hopes of winning a $1,000 grand prize.

“It is specifically an elevator pitch competition, and an elevator pitch is really designed to be one to two minutes long,” said Alan Lish, a clinical assistant professor at Bauer and coordinator of the event.

In that time-frame, the competitor should be able to grab the listener’s attention with an interesting hook, clearly present his or her idea, explain its competitive advantage and should deliver the pitch passionately, Lish said.

The two categories were split into one for entrepreneurship students and one for non-entrepreneurship students. Separate categories were made to give every student a chance to participate on equal grounds, said Ken Jones, the center’s associate director.

“Everyone has a pretty cool idea now and then, and it may relate to an entrepreneurial activity, so this is a great exercise for those not necessarily in the program to voice their ideas and some really hit, so this is a great way to bring business and non-business students together,” Jones said.

About 100 entries were originally submitted before the narrowing down to the 15 finalists. The scope of ideas presented by the competitors ranged from on-campus valet parking to eye glasses intended for those with glaucoma.

Entrepreneurship senior Brenda Melgar won first place for her idea to combine the verbal communication of business professionals with animated illustrations, an idea inspired by both a real-life advertisement and her passion for art, Melgar said.

“I’m including drawings with what people are saying, so it’s almost like doodling,” Melgar said.

“What inspired me was a Coca-Cola video on YouTube, and it was all drawn out and that’s how they explained their re-branding. I’ve been an artist my entire life so after I saw that, I said that’s something I could do.”

The first place winner of the student category was management information systems senior Jose Pablo Ramirez whose  “Share Care” idea represented a mobile app to connect people who want to volunteer with organizations that share similar interests.

“This is great chance for students to come out of their shell, and I will use the prize money to invest into my idea and plan new marketing strategies,” Ramirez said.

Lish said he hopes this competition will continue to expand and eventually become a focal point of entrepreneurship on campus.

“The reasoning behind the competition was to uncover the entrepreneurship we know we have going on around campus and to bring that to the forefront,” Lish said.

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