Students enter the shark tank in ‘Elevator Pitch’ event

Sophia Oswald

On Thursday, Oct. 15, students pitched their business ideas in Washburn’s Second Annual Washburn Elevator Pitch Competition.

This competition awards the winner with the money to launch a business and advice on how to go about starting a business. There was a large turnout this year with 75 entries from a total of 120 student contestants.

They had to sum these ideas up in three minutes with only five people advancing to the final round. There was a wide variety of ideas, ranging from a survival backpack to a new daycare that would be run by Washburn students. 

Kennedy White, senior finance and entrepreneurship major, came up with the idea of a business start up kit, containing all of the information an aspiring entrepreneur would need to start their first business. Mark Feuerborn, sophomore mass media major, and Kaleb Marconette, junior business major, pitched a guitar crafting business.

“Our company, Feuerborn Guitars, specializes in making non-traditional cigar box guitars unique to each customer’s request,” Feuerborn said. “It’s an instrument that’s been seen in the hands of B.B. King, Paul McCartney and even Johnny Depp recently, and with the sudden surge of interest around cigar box guitars in America, we felt there was no better time to introduce a business that hand crafts personalized ones for those interested in them.”

David Price, assistant professor of marketing, and Richard LeJuerrne, lecturer for the School of Business, both strongly encouraged the duo to move forward with this business idea.

Only five pitch teams could move forward to compete for the $25,000 worth of cash and prizes. There was also a separate competition for best Washburn Tech entry. Ben Freeman and Paul Lady worked together and won first place at Tech with their idea for a new form of automotive braking, specifically electromagnetic braking.

“With this you wouldn’t be putting ware on parts and you wouldn’t have to replace your brake pads,” said Lady. “If you replaced the brakes on semis with these, they would have more control and there would be less risk of really big accidents.”

They received $1,000 to continue their work on this business venture.

Cassidy Wines, freshman biology major, won a $1,000 in a separate competition for best freshman entry.

Finalists of the main competition were Kristen Kogl with her durable floss holder; Mark Feuerbron and Kaleb Marconette with their cigar box guitars; Matthew Palmer, Alex Moorehead and Scott Bucy Slumberalls with their pajamas; Cassidy Wines with her start-up screen printing business; and Brista Robinson, LeighAnn Defendorf and Christina Foreman with their potato chip ice-cream cones.

These students will be facing off in the final round of the pitch competition Oct. 29.