Is your business pitch on point? I mean really on point? If you took a chance, 30-second elevator ride with the CEO or new products director of that one company you know can make big things happen for you, would you be prepared? If so, then you need to drop everything and enter the 2009 Elevator Pitch competition, because your entrepreneurial dreams could be about to come true.
The Elevator Pitch Competition is a popular session at our annual Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference. Present your business idea for two minutes to a live audience and a diverse panel of judges in an effort to win products and services donated by our event sponsors. No business plans, no PowerPoint presentations—just you and your idea.
Tracey Friley was our 2008 Elevator Pitch winner. She’s the founder of One Brown Girl (www.onebrowngirl.com), a social movement that celebrates the cultures and identities of women of color across the globe. Among Friley’s winnings were an appearance on MSNBC’s Your Business and $2,000 from OPEN by American Express, a division of American Express that serves the small business owner specifically. “I didn’t participate in the contest to win,” says Friley. “Instead I went to spread OneBrownGirl.com’s brand message. Winning was icing on the cake and came as a nice surprise.”
As a result of winning last year’s Elevator Pitch competition, several opportunities opened up for Friley and her company. “In less than a year’s time, the press and publicity has caused an increase in traffic to the site; the One Brown Girl brand received its official trademark registration; the OBG Website has been completely redesigned and updated; Brown Girl Stories was added to the Brown Girl World page; I launched the Brown Is Beautiful video contest (inspired by the Elevator Pitch Competition); I announced OBG Adventure Camps, a pilot learning adventure program for ethnically diverse teens in the Caribbean; and plans are being made to offer OBG products to the public to sell from home,” she explains. Friley was also able to hire a publicist and secure two television interviews on local CBS and NBC affiliates, as well as a few print and online articles.
Those are pretty good spoils for a two-minute business pitch. So how can you be a winner? First, register for the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference and enter the Elevator Pitch Competition. Then brush up on your pitch and heed this advice from Friley: Be natural. Don’t worry about what the other contestants are doing and don’t try to memorize your pitch line-by-line. Stay true to your mission and your idea or product, and your sincerity will come across to the audience and the judges.
Think you have what it takes? Register today and we’ll see you in May!