Sunday morning, 25 St. Louis University students with bright ideas for a business milled about the St. Louis University Center for Entrepreneurship, chatting and rehearsing.
They were there for the Center’s first-ever Elevator Pitch Competition. It was a sort of speed-dating for the new business world, but with a twist.
Every good startup has a so-called “elevator pitch,” the quick come-on you would use to explain your idea to a potential customer or investor or partner. They are a pretty standard ingredient for a business plan competition. But when planning SLU’s student startup contest, Tim Hayden, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, thought he would try a different approach
“If you’re doing an elevator pitch, why not just jump in the elevator?” Hayden asked.
For the 25 contestants — students chosen from more than 100 online submissions — it was a crash course in impressing strangers on the fly. They would have about 30 seconds, ears popping and all, to explain their idea.
“As soon as those elevators open, your pitch is done,” Hayden said.