Escalator Competition Winners Advance to 11th Annual Wake Forest Elevator Competition

2.13.2011 General, News Release, School News

WINSTON-SALEM, NC—Wake Forest University students displayed their passion, creativity and entrepreneurial savvy to a panel of judges on Feb. 12 for the chance to win $250 and earn entry into the 12th Annual Wake Forest Elevator Competition.

The Escalator Competition is the qualifying round for the Wake Forest Elevator Competition and was led this year by undergraduate student co-chairs, Chelsea Dougherty (’12) Brett Patterson (’11) and Gavin Smith (’10).

Competitors submitted an executive summary of their business plan, made a two-minute pitch, and answered questions from a panel of Wake Forest faculty and graduate student judges.

Entrants in the Traditional Business Plan category were evaluated on such things as their value proposition, business idea description, market analysis and financial model.

Business and Enterprise Management major Afton Vechery (’11) won the first place award in the Traditional Business Plan category for her Kera10 proposal. Vechery was an intern at KeraNetics, a biomaterials company which creates keratin-based products for regenerative medicine, trauma care and cell culture, when she developed a business plan for keratin applications in the cosmetics industry.

Sustainability, partnerships, financial models and distribution channels were among the areas judged in the Social Entrepreneurship track.

First-year medical student Katarina Kesty won the Social Entrepreneurship track competition with her non-profit organization called Cataract Pack, which packages medical supply kits for surgeons who travel to developing countries to do cataract operations. “I am excited to have the chance to compete in the Elevator Competition,” said Kesty. “Cataract surgery is such a lifesaving surgery. It doesn’t take a lot of time to perform, but it dramatically changes people’s lives.”

Polly Black, director of the Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship at Wake Forest and Bren Varner, Visiting Instructor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship served as faculty judges.

“I am always amazed by the level of enthusiasm and the genius that I see among Wake Forest University students for the ventures that they want to start and the passion which they have around them is inspiring,” said Black.

While there was only one winner in each category, Varner said many of them are still feasible.
“There were a lot of great proposals. Our role now is to find ways to help them beyond this competition,” he said.

The 12th Annual Elevator Competition at Wake Forest University is scheduled for March 25-26 and will host students from around the world to compete for up to $40,000 in cash prizes and the opportunity to present to regional angel investors for potential investments of up to $2,000,000. More information can be found on (