“I am so excited,” said Quincy Freeman, landscape architecture senior and cowgirl boot designer, of winning the Ray Scherr Elevator Pitch Competition. “I feel blessed, very blessed, with all the opportunities I’ve been given.”
Could you come up with an idea innovative enough to pitch in front of more than 100 people in 90 seconds? What if there was a cash prize?
That’s what landscape architecture senior and cowgirl boot designer Quincy Freeman did on Oct. 16 during the fourth annual Ray Scherr Elevator Pitch Competition. Her presentation in the Christopher Cohan Performing Arts Center took first place, with a prize of $1,000 and an all-expenses paid trip to Chicago to compete in November.
Jake Disraeli, innovation coordinator from the center for innovation and entrepreneurship, said the Cal Poly event was more of a showcase for student ideas and initiative.
“All you need is an idea,” he said. “It’s about bringing people together and giving them a forum to convey and display themselves and their ideas.”
This past Wednesday night was the final round for the Cal Poly pitch competition, which began its preliminary rounds on Oct. 9. Freeman will compete next month at the national level and pitch her business model for Quincy Boots.
“I am so excited,” she said. “I feel blessed, very blessed, with all the opportunities I’ve been given.”
Freeman competed against nine other students during the final round, and competitors could frame their 90-second pitch for one of two categories: “Idea Cloud,” which involved crazy innovative ideas, products or services, or “Launch Pad,” meant to be platform to pitch a full business model.
Six students took home cash prizes, including computer science senior Jeremy Moyers with HomeSlice, an app for roommate living that he designed with two other students. He placed second in the Launch Pad category and was the audience choice winner; Moyers took home two cash prizes, totaling $1,000.
Students pitched their ideas from 5-6 p.m. at an hour-long panel titled “You + Media = The Future.”
The panel consisted of four major players in media during the past 10 years: investigative data journalist and founder of inewsource.org, Lorie Hearn; one of the original team members who launched Amazon.com in 1995, Tod Nelson; social media guru Melissa Godsey from Rosetta Marketing group; and Tim Bennett, who helped launch the careers of people like Rachel Ray, Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz, along with the infamous media production company Harpo.
They discussed the future of the ever-changing modern media and the opportunity it has for young people with innovative ideas.
“What you do and where you go in life has so much to do with your communication skills,” Bennett said.
All panelists spoke about persevering through the first stages of a new idea, product or company.
“Chances are, you’re gonna change your career in five years,” said Nelson. “Don’t get comfortable — always be looking back behind you to see what’s coming next.”