September 20, 2019

SIU student innovators compete for cash prizes and a trip to the national elevator pitch contest

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — How convincing can you be in 90 seconds?

That’s the question a group of entrepreneurial Southern Illinois University Carbondale students will set out to answer during the 2019 Elevator Pitch Contest Tuesday.

Selling their ideas

The idea behind the Elevator Pitch Contest is pretty simple. It starts with an innovative idea for a business or product. Then, the innovative entrepreneur creates a very short “sales pitch” to “sell” his or her business concept.

Essentially, it’s an exercise in imagination, innovation and salesmanship. Contestants are asked to envision what they would say during a short chance elevator ride to convince potential investors to put money behind their ideas.

The competition is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center, 1740 Innovation Drive in Carbondale, and the public is invited to attend. There is no cost and refreshments will be served.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and news crews are welcome to cover the 2019 Elevator Pitch Contest at 6 p.m. Tuesday at SIU’s Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center, 1740 Innovation Drive. For more information, contact Deborah Barnett at or by calling 618/536-2424.

Thousands in prizes and the chance to advance

Competitors for this event represent 10 different majors at SIU, according to Deborah Barnett, director of Business Incubator Programs at SIU.  Each has undergone training and taken part in mock pitch presentations. Now, they’re reading to showcase their ideas before an audience.

The Salukis will be vying for thousands of dollars in prizes and the right to advance to the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization CEO Global Conference and Pitch Competition slated for Oct. 31-Nov. 2 in Tampa, Florida.

The top finisher in the SIU competition wins $750 in seed funding for their business proposal and a paid trip to compete at nationals. Second prize in the local competition is $500 in seed money. Judging will be by a panel comprised of SIU faculty and successful entrepreneurs from around the region and beyond.

In addition, the contestant claiming the most votes from the crowd in Carbondale will take home $250. Barnett encourages everyone to come make their vote count and support these budding innovators and entrepreneurs.

Students help coordinate event

SIU’s Saluki Entrepreneur Corps (SEC) registered student organization helps coordinate the SIU Elevator Pitch Contest. A chapter of the national CEO, the group attends the national conference each year and participates in the national pitch competition.

Other sponsors for the SIU 2019 Elevator Pitch Contest include the SIU Business Incubator Programs and SIU’s Office of Innovation and Economic Development.

For more information, contact Barnett at or by calling 618/536-2424.