Carl H. Lindner College of BusinessCarl H. Lindner College of BusinessUniversity of Cincinnati

Carl H. Lindner College of Business

Sixty Seconds Translates into $1,000 Prize for Three UC Students

Monday, December 19, 2016 6:30 PM
Innovative waste-to-energy idea wins Lindner’s Inaugural Elevator Pitch Competition.
Elevator Pitch

Winners left to right: Ethan Jacobs, Ron Gillespie and Qingshi Tu

Sixty seconds was all it took for three UC students to pitch an idea and make their business plan stick with the judges.

Ethan Jacobs, CEAS ’14, Ron Gillespie, BSIM ’14, and Qingshi Tu, CEAS ’15, took home the $1,000 prize for their Effuelent waste-to-energy company in the inaugural Innovation Quest Elevator Pitch (IQ E-Pitch) Competition sponsored by the UC Center for Entrepreneurship & Education in the Carl H. Lindner College of Business.

Effuelent team members will be recognized at the 15th Anniversary Entrepreneurship Recognition Banquet on May 8, 2013 at the Marriott Kingsgate Conference Center.

The winners were among 48 UC teams of students from the Lindner College of Business, McMicken Arts & Sciences, College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning and the College of Engineering & Applied Science who made a 60-second “elevator pitch” to judges to sell them on their entrepreneurial idea.

Innovative ideas ranged from electronic devices to water filtration solutions, from 3D printing services to apps for mobile devices, with the Effuelent team grabbing the grand prize.  Sustain-a-Watt team members Rod Ghavami, Andrew Nguyen and Jason Van Vliet, from the College of Engineering and Applied Science, and Stephen Sargent and Yichen Xu, from the Lindner College of Business, were runners up in the competition.

Thomas Dalziel, associate professor of entrepreneurship in the Lindner College of Business, says the competition was founded on connection, the same principle that creates economic growth.

“The IQ E-Pitch Competition creates connections among all UC colleges and students,” he says. “The most successful teams connected innovative ideas from a variety of disciplines (engineering, industrial design, information systems) and coupled them with strong business acumen that accelerates commercialization, new venture formation and job creation.”

Chris Direnzi, CEAS ‘09, who sponsors the competition, served as a judge, along with Nichole Simms of Enterprise Holdings, and Edward Graves and  Steve Lamontagne of SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives), a national non-profit aimed at supporting entrepreneurs.  

In addition to an engineering degree, Direnzi also studied entrepreneurship in the Lindner College of Business. Within 10 months of graduating from UC, he launched his own venture, Capacity Energy Solutions, and surpassed $1 million in revenue in just 18 months, Dalziel says.