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March 7, 2014
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab

SRU offers cash for entrepreneurial ideas

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Got an app in mind worth millions? An idea to manufacture a widget? Improve an existing gadget? A new food franchise? Clothing line? Robotic car washer and backscratcher? If so, the Slippery Rock University "Rock the Boat" competition could help move your idea to reality.

The "Rock the Boat: Elevator Pitch Competition" is offering a $1,000 first prize to the best idea; $500 for second prize; and $250 for third.

To help would-be entrepreneurs in their efforts to bring a product to fruition, the competition, hosted by the SRU Sustainable Enterprise Accelerator, will offer an informational training workshop at 12:30 p.m., March 11, in 206 Eisenberg Classroom Building. A "Make Your Pitch Workshop" is at 12:30 p.m., April 1.

All pitch applications, which may be submitted beginning March 11, must be registered by 4:30 p.m., April 4. Semi-finalists will be notified by email April 8.

The elimination round is at 7 p.m., April 10. The final round, at which the winners will be announced, is at 7 p.m., April 16.

"The 'Rock the Boat Business Pitch Competition' provides an opportunity for SRU students to pitch an idea for a new business or product to a panel of judges with the opportunity to win cash prizes. The free competition is open to SRU students in all majors, including graduate students," said John Golden, instructor in SRU's School of Business and SEA director.

"An 'elevator pitch' typically describes the time you would have to describe an idea for a new business to a potential financier while riding an elevator to their office - typically wealthier individuals have offices on the upper floors," he said.

"In most scenarios of this type, you have about 30 seconds to grab a person's attention and convince them that your idea is worthy of further discussion. The point is you must convey information about your idea quickly, concisely and convincingly to stand a chance for a second meeting," he said.

The competition replicates the elevator scenario, "with a little slack, since participants are given two minutes to make their pitch to a panel of judges, not unlike television's popular 'Shark Tank' business investment show," he said. Judges are permitted to ask questions before scoring the participant on feasibility and concept, the presenter's communication skills and personal qualifications

Distribution of product samples is not permitted, but one prototype or prop may be used to demonstrate or convey information.

Complete rules, including a letter of agreement and a registration form, are available at:

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.