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Innovation Quest Elevator Pitch Competition goes digital

Competition evolves from expo-style pitch event to video submission and awards ceremony

Calling all students with an entrepreneurial spirit, a curiosity for innovation or an endless well of creativity: The application for the 2020 Innovation Quest Elevator Pitch (IQ E-Pitch) competition is open until Friday, March 13, with a new digital format.

Instead of a live event where student teams pitch their business idea to judges in-person, student teams are to submit a video of their pitch through an online form by the deadline, 5 p.m. EST on March 13. Judges from the regional startup and business community will review video pitches and determine finalists, who will be notified and invited to an awards ceremony on Wednesday, March 25.

IQ Elevator Pitch Competition logo with UC Center for Entrepreneurship & Commercialization tagline

Every year, the IQ E-Pitch Competition brings together student entrepreneurs, innovators and inventors from all over campus to pitch their start-up concepts to potential investors.

Ronald Meyers, undergraduate entrepreneurship program director at the Carl H. Lindner College of Business and startup evangelist for the UC Center for Entrepreneurship & Commercialization, says the new format is in response to the physical limitations of accommodating more than 400 students and nearly 75 judges on two full basketball courts in the Campus Recreation Center.

“An important aspect of this competition is the interaction between students and judges,” said Meyers. “As the competition has grown over the last eight years, we got to a point in our planning that we couldn't compromise that quality interaction because of a loud event that lasts nearly four hours. A video submission format allows students to finetune their elevator pitch so judges are able to hear and see all of it and comment thoughtfully upon their review, sparking a meaningful connection.”

Three young women stand at a table with poster board, laptop and their product in a gym as if ready to present

New for the 2020 IQ E-Pitch competition, students teams will submit their pitch(es) through video, instead of pitching live at an event in the Campus Recreation Center.

Since its founding in 2010, the IQ E-Pitch competition has attracted students from all of UC’s 14 colleges, totaling to more than 2,000 participating students in the competition’s history. That inter-disciplinary collaboration is what sets it apart from other competitions, not to mention, the potential to earn cash, startup funds or grants to help launch the business.

A video submission format allows students to finetune their elevator pitch so judges are able to hear and see all of it and comment thoughtfully upon their review, sparking a meaningful connection.

Ronald Meyers Director, Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Program | Startup Evangelist, UC Center for Entrepreneurship & Commercialization

The 2020 IQ E-Pitch competition offers approximately $5,000 in prize money and $22,500 in grants offered by the Venture Lab in the 1819 Innovation Hub and UC’s Office of Research, with judges representing groups such as Cintrifuse, Queen City Angels, CincyTech, Main Street Ventures, River City Capital, SCORE and HCDC.

“Entrepreneurship is a journey that takes many twists and turns along the way” said Meyers. “Some students wish to form a venture immediately while still in school. For others, the entrepreneurial spirit can take years to fully manifest. The IQ E-Pitch competition attempts to spark this spirit and offers students the opportunity to explore their ideas and innovations in a safe and welcoming environment.”

All students currently enrolled in UC undergraduate or graduate programs are eligible to enter the competition in one of four potential tracks: freshman; undergraduate; graduate and social enterprise. Those interested can learn more about the rules and frequently asked questions, as well as tips for crafting a winning pitch, on the Lindner College of Business website.

The Awards Ceremony on March 25 will take place in the West Pavilion at Nippert Stadium, 2700 Bearcat Way, Cincinnati, Ohio 45219, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.. The event is open to the public.

About the Lindner College of Business

At the Carl H. Lindner College of Business, we are committed to developing the next generation of business leaders. By nurturing business problem solvers for more than 110 years, we’ve served as catalysts for innovation and cutting-edge research. Through experiential learning and personalized career development, our students graduate with a competitive advantage in the workforce, ready to tackle global challenges.