CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – University of Northern Iowa senior marketing major, Eric Vanderschaaf of Maurice, has won the UNI Elevator Pitch Competition and will get to test his elevator pitch against college students from across the U.S. at the National Collegiate Entrepreneurs' Organization (CEO) Conference Elevator Pitch competition in Chicago, Nov. 1 through 3.
The runner-up for the UNI competition was Bennett Becicka, a sophomore marketing major from Charles City. Five students competed in the local competition and were judged according to the National CEO Elevator Pitch guidelines, which evaluates 11 areas of content and delivery.
"The John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC) will be working with Eric and Bennett to perfect their pitches for the national competition," said Laurie Watje, student business incubator manager for the UNI JPEC and adviser for UNI Entrepreneurs, the student organization that sponsors the contest. "The national competition consists of three rounds, and we expect their 90-second pitches to make it to the final round.”
Elevator pitch competitors' businesses can be in any stage of development; the key is to get an investor interested in the business. Judges for the UNI competition were: Randy Pilkington, executive director of UNI’s Business and Community Services; David Deeds, UNI accounting and entrepreneurship instructor; Katherine Cota-Uyar, UNI JPEC associate director.
The UNI John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center, a division of UNI’s Business and Community Services, provides a range of innovative educational programs and support services designed for student entrepreneurs. The center provides expertise in all stages of business planning and development and serves as a vehicle to bring new products and technologies to market.