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April 2, 2014

Lineup set for Purdue's 8th annual elevator pitch competition

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The lineup is set for the eighth annual Purdue University Elevator Pitch Competition, scheduled for 2-5 p.m. Friday (April 4) at Discovery Park's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship.

Winners in the undergraduate and open divisions each receive prizes of $1,000 for first place, $500 for second and $250 for third. A $500 prize also goes to the most entertaining pitch in each category. The open division is for faculty members and staff, graduate students, entrepreneurs from Purdue Research Park companies and certificate program alumni.

The event, which is organized by the Purdue Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program, will feature more than 40 participants making their 2-minute pitches, including the most contestants ever to compete in the undergraduate division. The general public is invited to watch the competition, which is in the Burton D. Morgan Center, Room 121.

"The record-breaking undergraduate division registration forced us to have a waiting list even after we expanded the allowable slots to 30 from 20 last year," said Jeanette Greener, program manager for the Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program. "It's great to see the number of eager, confident students in our program willing to take the challenge and step out of their comfort zone by pitching their own ideas in front of a panel of judges."

Each participant has two minutes to convey the value of a business venture idea to judges by showcasing the product or service, market and its size, competitive advantage, and plans to make the business profitable.

Sponsors are Otis Elevator Co., Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP, Allos Ventures, Indiana Spine Center, Alerding Castor Hewitt LLP, Elevate Ventures, LoadOut Technologies, Purdue Federal Credit Union and VisionTech Partners.

Otis Elevator is marking its eighth year of support for the competition, and Neil Mylet, founder and CEO of LoadOut Technologies, has provided the first sponsorship as a Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program Alumni.

Last year Purdue biomedical engineering students Elizabeth Mercer and Johnny Zhang won the undergraduate division for the concept Safe Pace, which would help surgeons during an operation determine whether a pacemaker implant was mechanically stable.

Electrical engineering doctoral student Wesley Allen claimed the 2013 open division with CommSense, a sensor designed to extend the battery life for mobile devices.

For a video wrapup of the 2013 competition, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I70ip4Pwjps.

The Purdue Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program, led by technology leadership and innovation professor Nathalie Duval-Couetil, serves more than 1,800 students each year and continues to integrate 300 new students each semester.

By the end of 2014, the Certificate Program anticipates more than 5,200 student participants and 1,700 recipients since it began in 2005. Similar to a minor, students complete a series of five courses or experiential learning programs to earn the certificate.

Housed in the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship and led by the Purdue Office of the Provost, the program is available to Purdue undergraduate students in all majors. Its purpose is to make entrepreneurship an accessible career option by providing students with the skills and knowledge to succeed in business on their own terms. 

Writer: Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133, pfiorini@purdue.edu

Sources: Jeanette Greener, 765 494-3805, jgreener@purdue.edu

Nathalie Duval-Couetil, 765-494-7068, natduval@purdue.edu