SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. -For the second year in a row, Andrew Frank, a senior marketing major from Stewartstown, has taken first place and the $700 top prize in the Slippery Rock University Sustainable Enterprise Accelerator "Rock the Boat Business Pitch Competition."
Frank's winning business idea and "business pitch" was for his creation and sale of a suit bag retrofitted with a small steaming device and absorbent material to capture excess condensation. The device produces steam that eliminates clothing wrinkles.
FRANKFrank told the judges the product is aimed at those who simply don't like to iron and business travelers and who need a fast and convenient way to keep clothing looking fresh. "It's an alternative an easy way to steam your shirt, suite, or dress so that the person can get ready and have their clothing item ready for the day or night with no wrinkles," he said.
Frank worked with Gill Malek, a marketing major from Pittsburgh, and Bruce Milam, a finance major from Cleveland, Ohio, on the project.
Judges cited his "engaging presentation style, innovative prototype and the market potential of his product" in making the award.
In last year's competition, Frank proposed a "Keepin' Cold," device which was a sleeve for dry ice that could then be placed in a picnic cooler to keep food cold for an entire day. The sleeve idea, which also took the top prize, was presented in partnership with Brian Brodeur, an SRU communication major from Saxonburg.
Robert Braund, an SRU senior finance major from Coraopolis took second place and $200 this year for his Reel Efficient Productions, a proposed production company focused on writing, directing, filming and editing reels for new actors to submit to casting directors and producers.
Brittany Biddle, a senior marketing major from Elizabeth, took third place and $100 for her "SHOTSTIX" idea. Her product is a portable container for transporting and delivering small quantities of an alcoholic beverage that can be added to the users' favorite mixer.
Judges for the contest were Melanie Anderson, associate professor in SRU's School of Business; Ray Miles, a 2009 SRU communication graduate, entrepreneur and owner of Ray Miles Creative, a marketing and media production firm that focuses on helping entrepreneurs and small businesses grow; and Bill Ringle, president of System Ringle, a consulting and mentoring organization for new and established businesses. He is also former chief executive officer of Pittsburgh Flat Roll Steel and president of Rome Metals, a mill processor of titanium metals.
Miles was a second place "Rock Pitch" winner as a student, and Ringle is a member of SRU's School of Business' Advisory Council.
The President's Office provided funding for the competition.
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.