WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Student entrepreneurs from top universities in the U.S. and Canada will compete for cash prizes to help fund their ventures during the 13th Annual Wake Forest Elevator Competition on March 23 and 24.
On Saturday, March 24, starting at 8:00 a.m., student teams will have to think fast, speak clearly and spark interest in their ideas as they make two-minute elevator pitches to venture capitalists while riding in an actual elevator at the BB&T Financial Center in downtown Winston-Salem. Competition finalists advance to the “boardroom” round on Saturday afternoon, where they will have the opportunity to make formal 25-minute pitches to competition judges.
Twenty-eight teams in total will compete this year, with 21 participating in the Traditional Business track and seven in the Social Entrepreneurship track.
The Elevator Competition is a student-run event organized and produced by 2nd MBA year co-chairs Julie Almendral, Andrew Akers, and Daniel Van Der Merwe, and is supported by a team of more than 35 MBA and Master of Arts in Management (MA) student volunteers. The faculty advisor is Elevator Competition co-founder Stan Mandel, Professor of Practice at Wake Forest University Schools of Business and Director of the Angell Center for Entrepreneurship.
“Our team of eight student co-chairs has been working hard and meeting weekly since September. It will be rewarding to see it all come together this weekend. This is a truly unique business plan competition, and we have some intriguing new ventures throwing their hats into the ring this year” said Almendral.
Wake Forest University Schools of Business will welcome Chris Galvin, Chairman, CEO and Co-founder of Harrison Street Capital LLC and former Chairman and CEO of Motorola, as part of the Leading Out Loud Broyhill Executive Lecture Series when he delivers the keynote address for the Elevator Competition on Friday, March 23 at 4:00 p.m. in the Worrell Professional Center room 1117 on the Wake Forest Campus. Galvin will share his personal story of recapturing success after his departure from Motorola.
The weekend of Elevator Competition activities can be followed by reading blog updates, watching videos from the elevator pitches and other activities, and voting for the “Fan Favorite” on ElevatorCompetitionLive.com.
Winners will be announced during an awards ceremony that starts Saturday, March 24 at 4:30 p.m. in the Piedmont Room at Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge & Rice, PLLC located in downtown Winston-Salem. The first place Traditional Business Plan winner will receive $10,000 cash and the highest placing team with an MBA student will receive automatic entry into the Venture Labs Investment Competition. In addition, the winning team can qualify for up to a $500,000 investment from the Piedmont Angel Network. The Social Entrepreneurship top finisher will receive $5,000 cash, and will also advance to the final screening round of the Echoing Green Foundation’s business plan competition.
Sponsors include: Altria, BB&T, BB&T Capital Markets, Bridgetree, Broyhill Family Foundation, Doug Shouse Marketing, North Carolina Biotechnology Center, Piedmont Angel Network, Sold Space, Travois, Truliant Federal Credit Union, Vino Del Sol, Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge & Rice, PLLC, Wake Forest University Schools of Business Net Impact Chapter, Wake Forest University Entrepreneurship Club and the Wake Forest University Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneur Magazine ranked Wake Forest’s graduate entrepreneurship program, home of the Elevator Competition, as one of the Top 25 Graduate Programs in the U.S. at No. 17 in 2011.