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    Elevator Pitch Fest Competition Helps Local Entrepreneurs Grow Their Businesses

    Duquesne University’s Entrepreneurial Studies Program will host the annual Elevator Pitch Fest of the MIT Enterprise Forum Pittsburgh on Wednesday, May 14.

    The Pitch Fest, which will be from 5:30 to 8 p.m. in Wolfe Lecture Hall in Bayer Learning Center on the Duquesne campus, will resemble the ABC network’s Shark Tank television show, featuring entrepreneurs who make business pitches to a panel of experienced investors and business leaders.

     This final event of the Enterprise Forum’s 2013-2014 programming season will offer Pittsburgh area entrepreneurs the opportunity to obtain exposure for their businesses and to connect with prospective C-level management, advisors, mentors, funders, employees and others.

    Dr. Jack Mason, director of Entrepreneurial Studies, will moderate the event. Panelists including Larry Miller, executive in residence at Innovation Works; Don Morrison, chairman of deal flow, BlueTree Allied Angels; Mike Stublermanaging director and co-founder, Draper Triangle Ventures; and Bobby Zapalla, CEO and co-founder, Thrill Mill Inc., will listen to pitches and provide valuable feedback.

    "Successful entrepreneurs know that they need this type of information in order to hone their presentations, fine-tune their business plans and, ultimately, to grow their businesses," Mason said.  

    Following the initial speed round of 90-second presentations, an audience vote will determine which pitches will be selected to advance to the final round of five-minute presentations. The expert panel will then engage with final-round participants to provide more detailed advice and select winners.

    The winning presentation will receive a prize package including:

    • An invitation to pitch their business to the Blue Tree Allied Angels
    • A funding prep "light" package, including 10-12 hours of service with face-to-face consulting, a high-level financial plan and presentation deck from C-Leveled
    • Four hours of legal services regarding start up, capital strategy, licensing, and other legal matters from Cherin Law Offices. (The second-place team will receive two hours of legal consultation.)
    • One hour of marketing counsel from The Berardi Group
    • One hour of sales expertise and advice from Achieving Sales Results.
    • A year's free subscription to Foundersuite (a $500 value). Foundersuite is a collection of five productivity tools and 70+ templates for entrepreneurs.
    • One hour of strategic consultation, Kickstarter video concept development and script development from PMI Digital.

    General admission to the event is $25; student admission is $20, free to students with a Duquesne ID. For more information or to register, visit www.enterpriseforumpittsburgh.com.

    Duquesne University

    Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic research universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. The University is nationally ranked by U.S. News and World Report and the Princeton Review for its rich academic programs in 10 schools of study for nearly 10,000 graduate and undergraduate students, and by the Washington Monthly for service and contributing to students' social mobility. Duquesne is a member of the U.S. President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction for its contributions to Pittsburgh and communities around the globe. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Princeton Review's Guide to Green Colleges acknowledge Duquesne's commitment to sustainability.