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Elevator Pitch Tips From A 2015 Finalist (And Startup Week T-Shirts)

Startup Week 2016

With less than three weeks until the beginning of Startup Week, we wanted to give potential entrepreneurs some advice about the Elevator Pitch competition.

We sat down with Andres Chavez, a senior accounting student, who participated in last year’s competition and presented in the final round with Angel Maldonado. Their business was an on-campus mobile car washing service.

Generating Ideas

As you try to brainstorm business ideas, Andres suggests thinking through things that you enjoy or are popular in your hometown and trying to adapt them to the college context. Coming from west Texas, Andres saw the popularity of this kind of service in the oil field and thought it would flourish at ACU.

Nail the Details

We asked Andres what he learned from taking his business from idea to putting it on paper in his business plan. “Details you didn’t think about” he responded. Things like insurance, advertising design, who will run your web presence, the whole slew of behind-the-scene questions that need answers, all have to be worked out.

The Presentation

After his initial presentation for ACU faculty, Andres told us that “Taking feedback from professors helped a lot.” Successful participants need to take the advice they receive from that round and incorporate it into their final round presentation.

Andres told us that presenting for a large audience in Cullen prepared him for his job as well. During his summer internship with Concho, he delivered an important presentation, and the Elevator Pitch experience helped him feel more confident in his delivery.

Changes to Make

“More visual aids,” he replied, when we asked what he would do differently. Being on the stage is daunting, and having well-designed graphics to incorporate into your pitch can make you feel more at ease, as well as impress the entrepreneurs judging you.

Top Tips

His first of three tips for 2016’s contestants is to “Know your presentation backwards and forwards.” The biggest way to calm your nerves is to have rehearsed your pitch over and over.

Second, if you’re bringing an existing business model to ACU, “Research how that business is successful.” If you can’t explain how you’ll be able to turn a profit, then you’re not ready for the competition.

Finally, he reminds fellow students to “Choose something that you’re going to enjoy doing, because there’s a lot of time that goes into it.” Putting weeks of preparation into a business that you don’t have a passion for running is going to do nothing but cause stress during the process. Find something you enjoy and run with it.


For those interested in Startup Week T-Shirts, here is a preview of what they’ll look like. They will be sold for $12 in the Campus Center throughout the week.