Wake Forest participates and hosts countless competitions during the academic year, but one of our favorite events is the annual Elevator Competition, which typically takes place in March.
The competition, which was first held in 2000, allows students from business schools across the country to test their skills at making the perfect elevator pitch. Each student team is required to perform a two-minute pitch, supply a detailed business plan, and prepare a formal presentation of their business venture.
There are categories for business ideas and nonprofit ventures.
The differentiating factor in this competition is the environment. Aspiring entrepreneurs are required to make their initial pitches in an actual elevator. In recent years the pitch has taken place in the glass elevators at the corporate HQ for BB&T Corp. in downtown Winston-Salem, N.C.
The thing we enjoy the most about this competition is learning about the various companies. Where else can you talk about etched glass designed for energy conservation and then, a table down, learn about the latest educational approaches for autism?
This year's winner was Orthovative Technologies, a group that included a student Wake Forest's Working Professional program. Other past winners have included Medtric Biotech from Purdue University, which developed a unique method of destroying bacteria, and AutismSphere, which was developing a platform geared toward helping those with autism.
The Elevator Competition has also landed intriguing speakers. Last year, for instance, Colin Gillespie, the senior director of marketing for LEGO direct to consumer, was the keynote speaker. Stan Mandel and his student team never disappoint with the planning and execution of this competition.