CSB/SJU students claim top two spots at elevator pitch competition

March 1, 2013

Tu Tran, a CSB senior management major from St. Cloud, Minn., placed first in the competition with her venture concept - healthy vending machines.

Students from the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University captured the top two spots at the Entrepreneur Scholar Student Consortium elevator pitch competition Feb. 22-23 at the Embassy Suites Hotel, Denver.

An elevator pitch is a 90-second pitch to present a business idea to a panel of judges, who grade the students in 10 different areas (a perfect score from a judge would be 20 points). Students competed from CSB/SJU, the University of Portland (Ore.) and St. Mary's University (Texas).

Tu Tran, a CSB senior management major from St. Cloud, Minn., placed first in the competition with her venture concept - healthy vending machines. She is the first CSB student to win the elevator pitch competition, and joins SJU students Ang Li (2009) and Matt Wildenborg (2012) as champions.

Anthony Retica, an SJU senior management major from Minnetonka, Minn., was one of three students who tied for second place for his pitch, distributing interactive commercial breathalyzers. He had worked on the project with CSB senior Claire Murn, who was unable to make the trip.

Last year, CSB and SJU students swept the top three spots in the competition. This year, CSB and SJU had four students place in the top 10.

The competition began with 37 students making elevator pitches on Friday, Feb. 22. The top 10 finishers came back to compete in the final round on Saturday, Feb. 23.

In addition to the elevator pitch competition, the consortium places students from different schools into teams of six or seven students, which are then given the task of creating a business plan addressing the theme of "major economic trends of 2013" in 24 hours. The teams then present their business plans to a panel of judges, who give feedback on the ideas.

The event was co-led by the Donald McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship.