All the Way to the Top

Published on August 22, 2011

Give Us Your Best Elevator Pitch, Coogs!

Students, faculty and staff from across the UH campus are invited to submit their best business ideas for CougarPitch, which is accepting submissions until Oct. 31.

Two minutes of your life. That’s all we are asking. You could win $1,000.

Got a business idea you’ve been wanting to pitch? The Cyvia and Melvyn Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Houston C. T. Bauer College of Business would love to hear it.

CougarPitch — an elevator-pitch competition open to University of Houston students, faculty and staff — was announced today by Bauer College, home of the nation’s top-ranked undergraduate entrepreneurship program. Deadline for CougarPitch entries is Oct. 31. Finalists will compete in an elevator-pitch slam Nov. 9 at Melcher Hall on the UH campus.

“At the University of Houston, we think it’s very high time that we expand our entrepreneurial efforts well beyond just the Wolff Center Entrepreneurship,” says Ken R. Jones, the center’s associate director, “and invite those from all facets and entry levels within the University of Houston system to participate and share an idea.”

CougarPitch: At a glance

Who: Presented by the Cyvia and Melvyn Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Houston C. T. Bauer College of Business.

What: CougarPitch, an elevator-pitch competition. Open to all members of the University of Houston family — students, faculty and staff. Top three finalists in each category will take home a cash prize, with first place winners receiving $1,000, second place receiving $500 and third place $250.

When: Online entry submission opens Sept. 1. Deadline: Oct. 31. Finalists will make their pitches at a public competition on Nov. 9. Judges will be enlisted from the Houston business community.

Where: Melcher Hall, C. T. Bauer College of Business, University of Houston.

For more information: or

Media requests: Jessica Navarro, Interim Director of Communications, C. T. Bauer College of Business, University of Houston; 713-743-4348 or

Successful businesses, Jones explains, are often born of chance encounters — in airplanes, restaurants, and elevators. “You meet somebody, and they ask you what you do, or what your business is, or your idea, and you get a very short window to make a relatively good impression,” says the Bauer College professor. (Bauer’s undergraduate entrepreneurship program is ranked No. 1 in the U.S. by The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine.)

If you are trying to formulate a pitch, Jones suggests imagining yourself on an elevator on the first floor of a 10-story building. By the time you reach the 10th floor, you should have made your pitch. Don’t be intimidated by the process. Judges, all from the UH business community, will be looking for quality of ideas.

“Somebody’s always been thinking about something they’ve had in the back of their mind, and here’s an opportunity to present that,” Jones says. “And it’s great practice.”

For more information about rules and eligibility, and how to submit your pitch when the online entry form opens on Sept. 1, visit

First place winners in each category will receive $1,000, while second place will take home $500 and third place $250.

Remember: it only takes two minutes.

By Wendell Brock