Here at The Chronicle, about the only thing we pitch on a regular basis is a hissy fit. So we were intrigued by the concept of 1,000 Pitches, a contest for UM students, faculty and staff to come up with ideas for new businesses, nonprofits or inventions.
The university-wide contest is sponsored by the College of Engineering’s Center for Entrepreneurship, but UM’s School of Information took it one step further. Administrators wanted to make it easier for SI students to participate, so on Tuesday, they set up a room in West Hall for videotaping, and invited people to drop by anytime between 1-5 p.m. to make their three-minute pitch. No muss, no fuss – plus snacks! (Cookies, apples and pop, specifically.)
We thought we’d drop by, too, just to watch. The whole thing seemed like a great idea, and since we like to rub up against great ideas whenever we can, we headed over to campus.
Frank DeSanto, SI’s communications manager, was manning the videocam setup when we arrived. However, nary a student, faculty or staff member (other than Frank) was to be seen. What we did see was a chair with a microphone next to it, professional lighting – using environmentally friendly compact fluorescent bulbs – and a really slick videocam hooked up to a laptop. We were impressed.
Frank was gracious enough to chat with us for quite a while. But after about 45 minutes and still no pitchers, well, we decided to make an exit – leaving our phone number in case the hoards descended, so that we could then return and soak in the whole entrepreneurial vibe.
Sadly, it was not to be. We later learned that one student had stopped in for a taping mid-afternoon – we are sorry we weren’t there to chronicle the event. Assuming that’s the only person from SI to make a pitch, that means she (or he) will win the $250 cash prize that the school was offering for its best entry. So congratulations!
The deadline for the broader contest is Sunday, Oct. 5. There are seven categories: social, environmental, high tech, health, global business, local business and green campus. The winner in each 1,000 Pitches category gets $1,000.