By Diana Wright, ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship
All throughout the month of February, students stirred up business ideas and crafted 90-second pitches to compete in pitch-offs held in all seven colleges at Iowa State University. The Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship hosted the second annual College-by-College Pitch Off, awarding 21 cash prizes totaling $7,000 to seed student business ideas.
Winners in each college received $500 for first place, and two runners-up received $250. The 21 college winners advanced to the campus-wide Innovation Pitch held March 7 at the Maintenance Shop. There they joined an additional 10 to 15 students on stage to compete for the best overall pitch for $1,000 and three $500 awards based on categories. Sponsors for the Innovation Pitch included local organizations and businesses: Renewable Energy Group ($1,000 — Best Overall Pitch), Workiva ($500 — New Innovation), Ames Economic Development Commission ($500 — New Business Idea), and Zirous ($500 — Social Venture).
Stand up in front of a crowd and talk about your business? This can be scary for any newcomer, let alone to clearly tell what you do in 90-seconds.
What do you do?
How do you do it?
Why will you be successful?
For many students, it may be the first time they are expressing their idea publicly. The pressure to deliver a 90-second elevator pitch leads to refining the plan for the business. Afterward, judges ask questions and provide valuable feedback. John Hall, judge and sponsor from the Ames Economic Development Commission, encouraged students to continue to share their ideas at the event.
“All of the businesses and business ideas presented were excellent, but all of you, winners included, could benefit from continuing to get out there and share your idea. It’s a great way to continue refining your idea, and for all of you, that confidence in your idea will grow which will help your business become more real and lead you to success as an entrepreneur.”
Pitch competitions are one of many programs students at Iowa State can seek out. The Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship provides support and guidance year-round for students interested in entrepreneurship through a menu of events and programs, including the CYstarters summer accelerator.
Serona Craft Butter, presented by Konner Koerselman (junior), Brian Fleming (senior) and Brad Lechton (senior), all studying industrial engineering
Safety Slide Pocket Gate, presented by Nick Schmit, third year veterinary medicine student
Flourish, presented by Lauren Gifford, senior studying marketing
Chess Utopia, presented by Anthony Swindell, senior studying entrepreneurship
In Your Corner Boxing Academy, presented by Corrine Schwarting, senior studying psychology
First Place: My Agent, presented by Tristen Meinders and Joanna Gramer, both seniors studying event management
Runners-up: Cover mobile app, presented by Hallie Farrell, senior studying event management; The Spectrum Night Club, presented by Sky Irlmeier, senior studying event management, and Jacob Wallace, a junior studying hospitality management
First Place: Heritage Farm Coop, presented by Joel Steckelberg, fourth year veterinary medicine student
Runners-up: Safety Slide Pocket Gate, presented by Nick Schmit, third year veterinary medicine student; Rage Room, presented by Kelsey Deaver, second year veterinary medicine student
First Place: Serona Craft Beer, presented by Konner Koerselman (junior), Brian Fleming (senior) and Brad Lechton (senior), all studying industrial engineering
Runners-up: TaVS, presented by Evan Timmons, senior studying computer engineering; CRAFT Growler Beer Dispenser, presented by Taylor Goodness and Nick Muelbauer, both seniors studying mechanical engineering
First Place: Jensen Applied Sciences, presented by Dillon Jensen, sophomore studying computer science
Runners-up: Yabble, presented by Cameron Stocker, senior studying statistics; In Your Corner Boxing Academy, presented by Corrinne Schwarting, senior studying psychology
First Place: Novuix, presented by Riley Fabian, senior studying finance
Runners-up: Flourish, presented by Lauren Gifford, senior studying marketing; Pink Panda, presented by Grant Keast, senior studying management
First Place: Retro Brick, presented by Miguel Izard and Mark Ramirez, both seniors studying architecture
Runners-up: Acoustic Paintbrush Productions, presented by Abigail Luchsinger, senior studying interdisciplinary design; Powdu, presented by Kyrstin Myhers, senior studying interdisciplinary design
First Place: CattleTech, presented by Alex Irlbeck and Taylor Tuel, both graduate students studying agricultural & biosystems engineering
Runners-up: Herd Connect, presented by Mindy Cook, senior studying agricultural business; Bar Guru, presented by Todd Van Dyke, senior studying agricultural systems technology