A video interview with two of the winners: Jason Kruse of the university division and Madison Gifford of the high school division. Video by Kate Ellingson.
Nebraska’s second annual 3-2-1 Quick Pitch competition handed out five awards last Wednesday, February 23rd at Memorial Stadium’s West Stadium Club. Fifty-four students from high schools, two-year colleges and four-year universities gave it their best shot in just three minutes, delivering their “elevator pitch” to over 40 judges from the nearby business and academic community. Students’ ideas ranged from software privacy online to a store for women’s gowns.
Before the Quick Pitch portion of the event, competitors heard from one of the 2010 winners, Brittany Benson. She explained to the group that after she won, she decided to start her business in Lincoln and not in Glendale, Arizona, which she had originally planned. She said that there was just as much of a need for her fitness and sports center here as there would have been in Arizona. She said that business has been great so far and encouraged participants to follow their dreams and not to give up.
Brittany Benson telling the group about her 2010 win and starting her business in Lincoln. Photo by Kate Ellingson.
Around 300 people came to watch the competitors compete for the cash. There were five separate divisions, one high school, one community college and three university sections, and they all had one thing in common: passion. It was impressive to see each competitor at the top of their game, trying to help the judges visualize their new business venture. Competitors impressed the spectators with their communication and presentation skills. Organizers explained that the club seating areas would be a little bit noisy but it’s set up that way on purpose. They explained that if you were to meet a potential investor in an elevator, there would be all sorts of background noise and very limited time to get your point across.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln student Emily Ibach delivers her quick pitch. Photo by Kate Ellingson.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln student Amber Li delivers her quick pitch. Photo by Kate Ellingson.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln student and winner Jason Kruse delivers his quick pitch. Photo by Kate Ellingson.
After the students finished their pitches, the judges met and deliberated their scores and then provided feedback to the students. During the networking portion of the event a couple of the students told me that the judges gave them great advice, while it wasn’t all positive, the students said they appreciated hearing all of it. They said that it will help them become more focused with their ideas and that hopefully will get them closer to reaching their desired outcome of starting a business.
Judges deliberating students’ Quick Pitches. Photo by Kate Ellingson.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln student Beth Barmetler celebrating her $1,000 win. Photo by Kate Ellingson.
Here’s the list of winners:
- High School: Madison Gifford – Bell of The Ball, a store for women to find the perfect gown for high school prom, local or national pageant, or any special occasion. Along with gowns, they will offer blinged-out jeans, t-shirts, and accessories.
- Community College: Ryan Cairns – Unnamed specialty beer store that will sell craft beer, brewing supplies and gourmet deli items. There will also be an in house tasting/social area for the patrons to purchase and experience beer and food pairings.
- University: Beth Barmetler – Plans to open a clinic for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) individuals. It would offer a wide range of services such as electrolysis, voice therapy, wigs, individual and family counseling, support groups, hormone therapy, and education and advocacy about the subject.
- University: Jason Kruse – MrDecals.com, an online service that will allow visitors to upload any image or graphic and use the company’s web interface to turn that image into a physical decal that can be used on cars, walls, laptops, etc.
- University: Kyle Powers – IgniteLights, a customizable LED-powered music visualizer, providing a vibrant visual experience to compliment music. The target market for IgniteLights includes bars/clubs/music venues looking for a more immersive experience for their patrons.
The event was organized by the Nebraska Center for Entrepreneurship, Southeast Community College Entrepreneurship Center, and Lincoln Public Schools Entrepreneurship Focus Program and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln chapter of Students in Free Enterprise.
To read more about the 3-2-1 Quick Pitch, see the Omaha World-Herald’s article: “Idea to sale in 3 minutes.”