HPU Students Awarded Funds at Annual Elevator Pitch Competition

Elevator Pitch Competition November 20, 2019

High Point University students received the chance to participate in the annual Elevator Pitch Competition, a part of Global Entrepreneurship Week on campus. Each student had two minutes to pitch their business ideas to four judges and compete for cash prizes during the competition.


HIGH POINT, N.C., Nov. 25, 2019 – During Global Entrepreneurship Week, an international initiative that introduces entrepreneurship to young people across the globe, 23 High Point University student teams pitched their business ideas at HPU’s annual Elevator Pitch Competition on Nov. 20.

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Lauren McAtee took first place and received $2,000 for her idea, Paw Alert.

This year’s panel of judges included David Amigo, owner of G&G Landscape and Irrigation, Sam Fratoni, chair of Maine Angels and former Corporate VP of IDEXX Laboratories, Pam Stearns, founder of Stearns Financial Group’s Financial Focus for Women and Jennifer Straumins, chair of Maverick Performance Products and former president of Calumet Specialty Products.

Lauren McAtee won first place and received $2,000 for her idea, Paw Alert, which is a Bluetooth heart rate monitor that the human can wear. The monitor alerts the dog’s collar when its owner experiences a heightened heart rate.

“It felt amazing to present my idea and win first place,” said McAtee. “Heading into the competition, I expected to receive experience in pitching an idea. Since winning, the confidence in my idea has boosted immensely, and I cannot wait to continue to practice and improve my design and pitch abilities.”

William Davis won second place and received $1,900 for his idea, Word Flasher, an academic application that can help people of all ages read faster.

“I’m thankful HPU holds events like the Elevator Pitch Competition and invests in creative spaces like the Belk Entrepreneurship Center,” said Davis. “I want to help people read and learn faster than ever before with a focus on those who have learning setbacks that include attention deficit disorder.”

Luke Melin and Caitie Gehlhausen tied for third place and each received $500 for their ideas. Melin’s idea, Shot Target, is a visual training device designed to promote effective shot replacement by visually providing soccer players with the most probable places of scoring on the net. Gehlhausen’s idea, CONEvertible, involves a comfortable and efficient alternative to the traditional dog cone.

Haley Bossart received the People’s Choice award, as well as $100 for her idea, On Point Magazine, a bi-annual digital and print publication cultivating a professional and purposeful mindset in college students.

These students were selected from over 40 submissions. Business ideas included an accessible movie theater solution, internship housing solutions, tutoring services, jewelers, customized chocolate and many more.

“It is incredible to see the talent and ideas demonstrated by the students here at High Point University,” said Kathryn Elliott, HPU’s assistant professor of entrepreneurship and director for the Belk Entrepreneurship Center. “Encouraging students to think deeply about how to take their business idea to launch is invaluable experience, and this competition has served as a platform for numerous participants who have gone on to win higher level competitions and receive offers of investment.”

This year’s event was supported by the Business Accelerator Fund, McKee Entrepreneurship Fund and Troy Knauss, assistant professor of the practice of entrepreneurship at HPU. The Business Accelerator and McKee Entrepreneurship Funds were established to support the annual Phillips School of Business Elevator Pitch Competition. The competition provides HPU students with the opportunity to pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges who are experienced entrepreneurs, with cash awards going to the top presenters. The award money allows students to invest in their business ideas and move forward in making the ideas a reality.

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