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March 28, 2012

CONTACT: K.E. Schwab




SRU student entrepreneurs may soon seek investors


SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Those who want to get in on the ground floor of the next Google, Apple, Starbucks or IBM may want to consider joining forces with Slippery Rock University students pitching ideas for new products and services as part of the Sustainable Enterprise Accelerator “Rock the Boat Business Pitch Competition.”

            Five entrepreneur finalists have been selected to make their pitch before a panel of judges for the $1,000 top prize at 6:30 p.m., April 6, in the University Club of North Hall.

            “This is an opportunity for students to get practice in making two-minute business pitches, what we often call ‘Elevator Pitches,” – an idea you can pitch during a short elevator ride – to potential investors or those who could help bring your product or service idea to fruition,” said Richard Grimm, associate professor in the School of Business and managing director of SEA.

“This year’s students came up with some very inventive ideas. The ideas were so good, it was very difficult for the first-round judges to pick the top five for the final competition,” he said. “There is no reason any of the proposed business ventures could not succeed if investors could be found.”

Robert Fishbone, of On the Wall Productions, author of “Selling the Scream and who is on campus to deliver an lecture and William Ringle, a former metals industry executive and president of System Ringle, will be among the three-judge panel who will hear the idea presentations.

 The finalist proposals, listed alphabetically, are:

  • “A Plan for Tomorrow” College Funding Advisors presented by Courtney Baker-Schroat, a senior accounting and finance major from Brackenridge, who envisions an organization that helps prospective college students make informed decisions about financing a college education and guides them through the process of obtaining financial aid.
  • Cocoa Premo, an idea of Chris Becker, a senior accounting and Asian studies major from Valencia, follows the Starbucks business model, but is focused on hot and cold cocoa-based beverages offered quickly – and at reasonable prices.
  • College Club Funding, an idea of Kurtis Jones, a senior finance major from Greenville, is an organization that kickstarts fundraising events for student organizations. His team includes Zachary Kunig from Pittsburgh and Thomas Ujazdowski from Gibsonia, both senior finance majors.
  • I-Rock Taxi presented by Nicholas Martin, a finance major from West Finley. His concept is to provide a livery service that would serve the University and community. Martin’s plan calls for providing 24-hour service thus increasing transportation availability and potentially reducing local incidents of driving under the influence. He has two partners in the proposed venture.
  • Keepin Cold is an idea presented by Andrew Frank, a junior marketing major from Severna Park, Md. Frank has created a device for improving the way perishable items can be kept cold for longer periods without refrigeration. Brain Brodeur, a communication major from Saxonburg is a partner in the plan.

The winner will be announced immediately following the conclusion of the presentations.’


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.