What’s the pitch? That’s the question that 17 Grove City College students will have less than two minutes to answer in the 15th Annual Elevator Pitch Competition.
In the time it takes to ride in an elevator with a deep-pocketed investor, students will share their entrepreneurial ideations for commercial and social enterprises in hopes of winning a cash prize that may help them turn their ideas into reality.
The event is organized and presented by The Center for Entrepreneurship + Innovation (E+I) at Grove City College, an interdisciplinary initiative that encourages and assists student entrepreneurs. Since the first Challenge in 2007, when a few dozen students made pitches, participation has tripled. This year there were 123 pitches, which were winnowed to the 17 finalists in preliminary rounds.
They will face off in the ultimate round of the competition at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 10 in Sticht Lecture Hall of the Staley Hall of Arts and Letters on campus.
This year’s final round will be a hybrid event. Students will deliver their pitches live on stage to an in-person panel of judges and a live audience. The event will also be livestreamed, and remote viewers, along with the in-person crowd, will be able to vote for their favorite pitch.
“Last year, the finals of the Elevator Pitch Competition was completely virtual, and we had 1,340 page views with visitors from 33 states cheering our finalists on during the event,” E+I Executive Director Yvonne J. English ’97 said. “This year, by being intentional about our hybrid format, we want to continue to give those who aren’t able to make it to campus an opportunity to be inspired by our students’ creativity and passion and to participate in voting for their favorite pitch.”
Winners for the best social and commercial enterprises will be selected by the judges. The event is sponsored by Beans on Broad and The Grove City Foundation (an affiliate of The Community Foundation of Western PA and Eastern OH), with the latter also awarding a Social Impact Prize. More than $3,000 in cash is up for grabs this year.
The finalists and their ideas are:
- Adjustable Window Screen—Victor Schultz ’25 (Design and Innovation); a fully-adjustable window screen
- Allergy Stick—Drake Muir ’25 (Business Economics); a product that helps reduce cross contamination
- Divine Creation—Mia White ’25 (Design and Innovation); a safe, artistic tattoo studio
- Epi-let—Mark Wilhelm ’23 (Entrepreneurship); a monitoring bracelet for those with epilepsy
- Greener Packaging—Maddy Fry ’23 (Biology); biodegradable packaging products made from cow's milk
- H2Only—Shelton Brower ’24 (Marketing); a homeschool curriculum helper
- Keep Yo Capo—Jenna Knepper ’25 (Marketing); a capo built into a guitar
- Safe N’ Tasty—Caroline Dawson ’25 (Entrepreneurship); an allergy-friendly food truck
- ShowerRite—Sierra Nagy ’23 (Business Management); a sensor-activated water-saving showerhead
- Speed Swipe—Micah Fazekas ’25 (Marketing); gas-integrated vending machine
- Broken Light—Emma Whiteford ’24 (English); a business that redeems the self-love movement
- Code Purpose—Logan Richardson ’24 (Computer Science); connecting software developers with nonprofits
- Culinary Corrections Co—Oliver Schwarz ’25 (Entrepreneurship); a nonprofit that will cost-effectively improve prison food
- Kids Too—Molly McCommons ’25 (Undecided); child abuse awareness and family court reform advocacy
- Mosquitocide—Peter Judge ’25 (Computer Science); a nonprofit aiming to reduce the mosquito population globally
- Vibe—Gus Minotto ’23 (Biblical and Religious Studies); glasses that aid the focus of those with ADHD
In the preliminary round, students presented their video pitches to panels made up of 75 Grove City College community members — faculty, staff and friends of the College — who scored their efforts on criteria such as the business problem, the story, the solution, expansion opportunities, and sustainability.
The Grove City College Elevator Pitch Competition is open to students from all majors and ideas may be at any stage of development, from creation of concepts or ideas to an established venture. The goal is to teach students to communicate effectively and allow their charisma and positive characteristics to shine through in just a short pitch. The competition demonstrates the networking and presentation skills essential to any entrepreneur or business professional.
For more about The Center for Entrepreneurship + Innovation, visit gccentrepreneurship.com.