Five finalists chosen in Washburn pitch competition

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Abbie Barth, Copy Editor and Freelance Reporter

The Washburn Elevator Pitch Competition had a high turnout of nearly 60 competitors.

The knockout and semi-final rounds of the pitch competition were held Thursday, Oct. 3 at 1 p.m. The competition was open to undergraduate and graduate students from Washburn University and Washburn Tech.

The five finalists are: Chase Brill and Elias Overby, Jesus Gallegos, Yuto Hirayama, Taylor Jacobsen and Abigail McCrory.

Sophomore business major Abigail McCrory is very excited about being a finalist.

“I can’t wait to show the judges and Topeka community members my idea. There is a lot of behind the scenes work that goes into the six-minute pitch, but it’s all worth it in the end,” said McCrory.

The competition is made possible by a partnership between the Washburn School of Business and Go Topeka.

During the knockout round, participants pitch a business idea in a brief three-minute elevator speech. There were nearly 60 participants dispersed across four different rooms for competition.

The top three participants of each room moved on to the semi-final round. Each of the 12 semi-finalists presented during the knockout round which then narrowed the field to five competitors – who then reach the finals to compete for prize money awarded by Go Topeka.

Chase Brill and his partner Elias Overby put a lot of hard work into their pitch.

“We practiced almost every night for about a week and a half leading up to the knockout and semifinal rounds. Prior to that there was extensive research and time put in going all the way back to this summer,” said Brill.

Finalist Yuto Hirayama hopes that his business pitch will be enough to sell the judges.

“I still can’t believe I made it to the final. My business idea is based on my difficult experience in American college life,” said Hirayama. “I have been thinking of this business idea for 3 years. ‘My business idea is titled “English Online Learning Service” because I have a passion to improve the Asian English level which is really poor today.’”

The finals will be at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17 in the Bradbury Thompson Alumni Center.

Edited by Adam White, Jason Morrison, Wesley Tabor