Winners of JCU Elevator Pitch Competition Applauded by Guest Judges

Silvia Calarco, Marco Pecchio, and Olga Cheremoshkina

Silvia Calarco, Marco Pecchio, and Olga Cheremoshkina

On March 21, John Cabot University’s (JCU) Institute for Entrepreneurship hosted the final winners round of the Spring 2016 Elevator Pitch Competition (EPC). For the first time ever, three external guests were invited to judge the participants’ one-minute pitches.

Since the first EPC in Fall 2013, JCU faculty and staff have judged the competition. Today, the event has grown to 83 contestants in the first round. This semester, the Institute for Entrepreneurship invited Chief Creative Officer and Co-founder of Filo Lapo Ceccherelli, Human Resources Consultant Elia Fregola, and Co-founder of Scooterino Ross H. Page to sit on the panel of judges and evaluate the final pitches.

The first finalists to speak were Chiara Camerano, Chiara Cervini, and Olga Cheremoshkina in the Business Pitch Category. They had one minute to try to sell a product or seek funding for a business idea, and the judges followed up with questions regarding the business plan and potential competitors. Cheremoshkina joined the ranks of first place winners in this category with her idea for an app that can help users avoid food allergens when eating in restaurants.

Next, the Personal Pitch Category finalists Matthew Bloch, Silvia Calarco, and Alissa Onofrio took to the stage. In this category, students aim to persuade an employer to hire them on the strength of their qualifications for the job. “It is nice as a judge to be able to give a point of advice to the participants,” said Elia Fregola. Because of his work in the human resources field, he had quite a few tips for the Personal Pitch finalists. Calarco was one of the first place winners with her pitch for entry into the New School’s Media Management Graduate Program.

Lastly, Marco Pecchio and Angelica Servan Mercatali faced off in the Social Advocacy Pitch Category. They attempted to persuade the audience to support their cause by donating money to a charity, changing a habit, signing a petition, or other similar actions. First place went to Pecchio for his call to audience members to donate money for water purifying straws to battle water-born illnesses around the world.

It was not long ago that the judges were pitching their own ideas to investors. “I was in their position just one year ago,” said Lapo Ceccherelli. “It was good to be on the other side of the table, to give feedback based on my own experiences. I hope we were helpful.”

Ross H. Page added, “I applaud JCU for giving students this chance. Everyone should develop his or her public speaking skills because it opens doors of opportunity. The more a person practices speaking, the easier it gets.”