Students Awarded Start-up Funds at Annual Elevator Pitch Competition

Charlotte Thompson and her “Water You Saving” product proposal won first prize and $500 at HPU’s annual Elevator Pitch Competition.

Charlotte Thompson and her “Water You Saving” product proposal won first prize and $500 at HPU’s annual Elevator Pitch Competition.

HIGH POINT, N.C., Nov. 28, 2016  High Point University celebrated Global Entrepreneurship Week Nov. 14-18 with a variety of activities for students, including an opportunity to win start-up funds for their business plans.

The HPU Entrepreneurship Center hosted speakers such as Nadia Shirin Moffett, former Miss North Carolina USA 2010 and Founder and Executive Director of The Queens Foundation, and an Entrepreneurs’ Round Table Dinner, where experienced entrepreneurial advisors shared ideas with students.

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.

Charlotte Thompson received the top prize of $500 for her product, “Water You Saving,” a water conservation product that captures used water from showers, redirects it to a tank to be moderately purified and then used to flush toilets to cut down on overall water consumption.

“The experience was so surreal, and I was beyond excited to win,” said Thompson. “This was my third year competing in the elevator pitch competition and the first time I won any prize, let alone first place. My competitors had done an amazing job and I knew it would be a tough competition.”

Thompson said that even amidst the competitive atmosphere, all of the student contenders were uplifting and encouraging to one another.

“Of course we all were hoping we would win,” said Thompson. “But there was a sense of ‘I want all of you to succeed and do well with your business.’ Everyone was incredibly encouraging to each other and it was all genuine. That definitely made a huge impact on the positive vibe of the competition.”

Judges Joe Carlin of JonXeone Capital, Jeff Harris of Furnitureland South, Gary Simon of Simon Jewelers and Sue Downes of My Eye Doctor, all seated in the front row, listen as students present their proposals.

Judges Joe Carlin of JonXeone Capital, Jeff Harris of Furnitureland South, Gary Simon of Simon Jewelers and Sue Downes of My Eye Doctor, all seated in the front row, listen as students present their proposals.

Thompson says that the money she won will be used to help build a prototype of her product and eventually have it patented.

Second place winner Jacqueline Stein received $250 for her business concept called PE3RCS, a method of using virtual reality to enhance teaching for students with learning challenges such as dyslexia. Rami Aoun and Taylor Elseroad received third place and $150 for their concept, Skills.Market, a new way to match graduating talent from universities with the right career path.

“Each year we are seeing our student entrepreneurs identify fascinating solutions to future problems. This foresight and courage reinforces the fact that our students are extraordinary and will be future leaders,” said Kathy Elliott, assistant professor and director of entrepreneurship at HPU. “Students presenting ideas this year ranged from freshman to seniors and from services to groundbreaking new products. I am excited for what is still to come.”

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