Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Elevator pitch: Students present business plans for $1000 cash prize


The elevator’s doors close. Whether or not the person in the suit standing to your left funds your million-dollar business idea depends on the next 90 seconds. Your palms sweat, and your knees weaken – well not noticeably, of course. The UTSA Elevator Pitch Competition prepared you for this million-dollar ride.

The first of its kind at UTSA, the student-piloted Elevator Pitch Competition offers $1000 and other cash prizes to the top three 90-second business pitches. The event will not be held in an elevator. Instead, true to the competitive spirit of the succinct investment elevator-style proposal, participants will pitch their business ideas before an audience of judges on Friday, Nov. 7 at 1 p.m. in the Business Building Lui Auditorium (BB 2.01.02).

“I caught the entrepreneurial bug when I heard about the entrepreneurship program,” says College of Business senior Kimberly Todd, who is the leader of the UTSA Pitch Competition.

“The classrooms are so hands on and get you out of your chairs,” Todd exclaims. “This type of learning – where you are interacting with people, where you are discussing ideas, and actually engaging in what is going on is the type of learning that I wish everyone could experience.”

And Todd did jump – along with her classmates Sarah Olivarez, Amanda Johnson, and Maria Acevedo.

The four seniors accepted their Entrepreneurship professor Dr. Anita Leffel’s request for business students to organize elevator pitch competition. Todd, Olivarez, Johnson and Acevedo formed a committee and planned the event.

“Dr. Leffel came up with this really awesome idea, and we pretty much just ran with it,” says Todd about the committee’s process. “We have done everything from figuring out how the flyers would look, finding a venue, figuring out the rules of the competition, making the website, … brainstorming the idea for our commercial and then filming the commercial, … speaking to business professionals in San Antonio to attend [and] getting the food for the event,” she continues.

At the competition, university students and faculty as well as local entrepreneurs will judge the success of the pitches and determine the prizewinning pitches.

What is an award-winning pitch? “Think of it as a tease,” explains Todd, “a taste of the entrée – but not the entire entrée at once.”

A pitch’s success hinges on the speaker’s mastery of his or her business concept and the charismatic delivery of the speech in a constrained amount of time such as a hypothetical 90-second elevator ride.

The $1000 pitch competition is sponsored by UTSA College of Business Center for Innovation and Technology (CITE) and the UTSA Toastmasters organization.

CEO of the Alamo City Chamber of Commerce Christopher Herring will deliver the event’s keynote address.

Members of the UTSA community interested in competing must register at and provide a video sample pitch by Oct. 31 at 5 p.m. The committee will select the top 20 registrants who will compete on Nov. 7.

Audience participation is integral to determining the top-pitches, and everyone interested in entrepreneurship competition is welcome. For more information visit

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