Entrepreneurs young and old filled Hart Auditorium Wednesday morning for this year’s Springboard Elevator Pitch competition.
Ten groups of aspiring business students advanced to the final round of the idea competition, competing for prizes of $1,500 for first place, $750 for second, $250 for third and $250 for audience favorite.
Russell Garrett, new Springboard program coordinator, organized the event.
“The elevator pitch competition is meant to put you in situations where if you were in an elevator with a potential investor, you have from the bottom floor to the top floor to convince them to invest in your business,” Garrett said.
With this concept in mind, finalists were allotted two minutes to pitch their business idea to a panel of judges.
Judges evaluated the pitches on several different aspects: the concept of the business, the value proposition, the market, presentation skills and their impressions of the student entrepreneurs. Contestants were scored in these categories, and in the end, judges were asked the question, “Which team would you pick to have lunch with tomorrow to find out more about investing in their company?”
Colby Hatchett, junior accounting major from Fort Worth, walked away with $1,750 in his pocket after winning first place and audience favorite for his restaurant idea called The Mullet.
Hatchett’s business idea for a restaurant that is “a nice restaurant in the front but a childcare center in the back” captivated the audience and landed him the two prizes. He said he didn’t see the first place prize coming his way when he decided to enter the competition last Friday.
“With an idea called The Mullet, I was really just going for the people’s choice award,” Hatchett said. “I just really wanted to come up here, have fun and gain the experience of presenting in front of possible investors.”
Hatchett said he thinks the College of Business does a great job pushing students to be innovative and to act on that innovation.
“Innovation is so important because, without the innovation, we can’t keep learning,” Hatchett said. “All these businesses you can go work for started out with someone’s vision. I think, in step with ACU’s mission of educating students for Christian leadership and service around the world, part of that is thinking outside the box of how you can serve others.”
Second place went to Timothy Holt and Matthew Sampson for their container home business, and Mason Cobern took third for his hunting guides business.
Sampson, senior business management major from Vienna, Virginia, competed for the first time in the competition. He and Holt, senior digital entertainment technology major from Plano, crafted a plan for building houses made of shipping containers.
“It’s really fun to think about creating a business,” Sampson said. “The whole process of that was pretty neat, and it was cool getting to do that with a good friend of mine.”
Rudy Garza, president of ACU’s chapter of CEO, said Springboard continues to be an important competition for ACU students.
“It’s important that an aspiring business person can envision something great and tell others about it in a way that they also understand how great it is,” said Garza, junior marketing major from Corpus Christi.
Garrett, in his first year as Springboard coordinator, said the competition teaches people the value of learning how to sell themselves.
“I was a vocal major and I was taught that I could market my voice, that I was really valuable and I had all these options, but I wasn’t taught to sell myself,” Garrett said. “That was a deficit in my knowledge that I was not aware of until here.”
He said even people who don’t want to start their own business need to be able to sell themselves.
“Entrepreneurs, if they’re good ones, have a knack at being able to sell themselves, which I think is a skill anyone’s going to need,” Garrett said.