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Doherty Scholar wins MIT Elevator Pitch Competition

What does it take to sell someone on your idea for a new product or service? A good pitch certainly helps - especially one you can give to a prospective investor in less than a minute, a skill that won Elon University junior Brian Serow top prize in a contest at the 2011 MIT Global Startup Workshop in Seoul, South Korea.

From left: Doherty Scholars Meghan Green, Hunter Perry and Brian Serow.

The entrepreneurship and marketing double major from Raleigh, N.C., won $1,500 in the Elevator Pitch Competition at the late March conference. His pitch was for a smart phone application that would allow people who are allergic to certain foods to search menu items at restaurants for dishes that didn't contain those products.

Forty-seven individuals, including entrepreneurs, competitors with PhD's, and graduate and undergraduate students from across the globe entered the contest.

"This was a great experience," said Serow, a Doherty Scholar in the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business at the university. "At Elon, especially within the entrepreneurship program, I am constantly making presentations, introducing speakers, and fielding questions. This prepared me for the competition and made the experience enjoyable."

The top three pitches were announced at the workshop gala dinner held in the National Museum of Korea. Second place was awarded to Andrew Blair of South Korea and third place to Kanishk Bali of Hong Kong.

The Elevator Pitch Competition, sponsored by SoftBank Ventures Korea, is one of the most popular aspects of the three-day workshop.

“Brian's one-minute pitch and answers during the Q&A were outstanding,” said Gary Palin, executive director of the Doherty Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership and senior lecturer of entrepreneurship in Love School of Business. “The panel of judges, MIT affiliated entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, was the most accomplished I have seen in my 30-plus years in this field.”

The annual MIT Global Startup Workshop brings together entrepreneurial leaders, financiers, students, professors, government agents and private parties to build a global support network for entrepreneurship. The workshop bridges boundaries across different sectors to foster discussion, generate ideas and share best entrepreneurial practices.

Serow attended the Global Startup Workshop with fellow Elon students and Doherty Scholars Hunter Perry and Meghan Green as part of the center’s efforts to provide global opportunities in entrepreneurship for Elon students.

The winning pitch was first presented at Elon’s Idea Launch Pad by Serow and Alex Carberry, an entrepreneurship and computer information systems double major from Little Silver, N.J.

- Information submitted by students in the Doherty Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership at Elon University

Eric Townsend,
5/23/2011 11:08 AM