HIGH POINT, N.C., Nov. 23, 2015 – High Point University students, local entrepreneurs and investors celebrated Global Entrepreneurship Week Nov. 16-19, the world’s largest celebration of innovators and job creators.
The HPU Entrepreneurship Center hosted events throughout the week such as speakers like Jason Oliver Nixon from Madcap Cottage and Mark Philips from the Phillips Collection, as well as a PAN Start Up Screening meeting where HPU students pitched their business ideas to angel investors.
To conclude the week, 17 teams of HPU students were given two minutes to pitch their business ideas to four judges and compete for cash prizes at the annual Elevator Pitch Competition.
Brandon Holder was selected as the first place winner and recipient of $500 for his business, Water the World, a solar powered/battery-operated pumping system that filters water for drinking and agriculture. Holder currently has three Water the World systems – two at First Baptist Church in Asheboro, N.C., and a third at Camp Caraway and Conference Center in Randolph County.
“I’m excited because this is something I needed to take my business to the next tier and take it to the top,” said Holder. “Being able to have an idea – and have working capital along with it – gives me confidence. I am very grateful for this.”
Second place winner Hannah Grau received $250 for her business concept called the Veranderung, a sustainable crib that can fold out into a bed and desk. Emily De Lana and Blake Pakos received third place and $150 for their device, the Track Rabbit, an LED light system that will allow runners to know what time or distance they have to beat.
Eric Hill, judge for the Elevator Pitch Competition and chief operating officer and co-founder of BioRX, said he was very impressed with what he saw from the HPU students at the competition.
“They are systematically more advanced for 18 to 22-year-olds, and they certainly are braver,” said Hill. “When I was 20, I had no idea of how to start a business. But here at High Point University, they say with no problem, ‘I’m going to start a company.’’’
“I think that when students are first digging into entrepreneurship, they have to be able to explore ideas, validate their ideas, then follow through on a plan,” said Kathy Elliott, director of entrepreneurship at HPU. “Then, they can advance that idea, or advance to another idea. And really, what matters is not the idea. What matters is they gain confidence. They gain courage.”