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We have a winner! Congratulations!

It was a momentous evening for us at the Entrepreneurship Academy as we proudly announce our Champion for the Elevator Pitch Competition.


Jeremy Abrams impressed the judges with impeccable stage presence and impressive articulation of his vision for Uppd – a company he had founded with partner, Stefanie Bassler.

Jeremy & his partner wanted an idea that balanced ingenuity and practicality as they knew it wasn’t feasible to pursue a fantastically unique concept that cost more than it was worth. Moreover, since they also wanted to address a market need, there was no point in building something nobody would use. And voila, after a lot of brainstorming, meeting up a local coffee shops – Uppd was born.

In his own words about this new entrepreneurial venture : “Uppd lives at the confluence of three growing trends: video, social media, and gamification. It allows individuals to utilize their own video footage to participate in or create challenges. Users have the option to scroll through the top ranked videos, filter by interest, actively participate in other users’ challenges, or create original content to challenge others. Users are incentivized to create content with notoriety, as well as compete for other tangible rewards offered by sponsoring companies.”

Besides being an aspiring entrepreneur, our highly motivated Champion is currently a law student at IIT’s Kent Law School. Initially thinking he didn’t stand a chance to win and almost forfeiting this opportunity, he still went ahead and registered. This competition would give him that extra experience of delivering a short pitch to total strangers, and that was what motivated him. “This is why you never decide anything on doubt”, said Jeremy. “Had I succumbed to my fear of losing, I still wouldn’t know I could win.”

Even though Jeremy initially claimed that he was not proficient enough in public speaking, he managed to improve his pitch based on the constructive feedback that the judges in the semi-finals provided. Now painting a much clearer picture of how Uppd works, he impressed almost everyone that was present at the finals round. Judges Adam Fridman, Founder of MeetAdvisors, Vlad Kharaz, Senior Design & Development Manager at High Sierra, Celestine McGee, Assistant Director of IIT’s Career Management Center & Nik Rokop, Managing Director of IIT’s Entrepreneurship Academy gladly bestowed upon Jeremy invaluable advice on further perfecting his 90 second pitch as he moves forward to represent IIT at the National CEO National Elevator Pitch Competition this weekend.

Among the prizes that Jeremy won is the $500 Elance credit, proudly sponsored by Elance Chicago. Jeremy plans to utilize the credits he obtained by seeking a graphic designer to rework Uppd’s logo. Although Jeremy designed the original, he thinks that a professional graphic designer could certainly transform Uppd’s logo.


Nishanth Samala & David Vidal, emerged as 1st Runner Up & 2nd Runner Up respectively & Erik Borczon had the most votes for the People’s Choice Award. In addition to the prizes for the top 3 contestants, Elance Chicago also generously offered $50 in Elance credits to all the contestants!

With this, we would like to thank our sponsor – Elance and our judges for contributing to the success of this event.

Quoting Jeremy, “Henry Ford said that -There is no man living that can not do more than he thinks he can.” Granted, all I did was a short 90 second pitch. But I plan to do much more, and I doubt that I can do a lot of it. But then again, why not?” This competition has been a tremendous journey for us and hopefully, for the contestants as well.


Stay tuned for many more exciting events, in particular – The Global Entrepreneurship Week happening from November 18- 22. For more information and to register for these events, go to:


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Announcement : Elevator Pitch Finalists



Let us join in congratulating our Elevator Pitch finalists!

  • Carolyn Boswell
  • CunwangChen
  • Dane Christianson
  • David Vidal
  • Erik Borczon
  • Jeremy Abrams
  • Nishanth Samala 
  • Tiago Justino


They now stand a chance to win these following prizes :

  • First place: $500 Elance Credit + Full access to the National CEO Conference ($200+ value) + entry to the National CEO Elevator Pitch Competition with a chance to win up to $3,500
  • Second place : $250 Elance Credit + 1 day Ticket access to National CEO Conference
  • Third place : $250 Elance Credit + 1 day Ticket access to National CEO Conference
  • People’s Choice Award: 1 day ticket to the National CEO Conference

The National CEO Conference will be held October 31-November 2 at McCormick Place in Chicago.


To witness all these exciting events happening, RSVP to secure your spot as our audiences! Seats are limited and on a first come first serve basis.

Date : Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

Venue: Main Campus, IIT Tower 13th Floor Student Lounge 

Time : 6pm-8pm

*Food & refreshments will be provided*


See all of you tomorrow, get excited! ;)

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Elevator Pitch Finalists + Your Chance to Be One of Them!

These past few days has seen us here witnessing quite a few innovative and inspiring pitches! We were taken by pleasant surprise on how fluid and well prepared our contestants were, and have them to thank for an amazing competition!

Value Proposition in 90 seconds : The Elevator Pitch Competition celebrated the success of two semi final rounds, at the IIT main campus & downtown campus respectively.

With such an amazing turnout, we are glad to announce the finalists that will move forward to the final competition on Wednesday, October 23 :

Monday 10/14 – Main Campus Finalists

1. Nishanth Samala 

2. Carolyn Boswell

3. Dane Christianson

4. David Vidal


Tuesday 10/15 – Downtown Campus Finalists

1. Jeremy Abrams

2. Tiago Justino

3. Erik Borczon

4. Cunwang Chen

A round of applause and a big congratulations to our 8 finalists! They performed spectacularly and we can’t wait to hear their ideas again during the finals.


Elevator Pitch Finals

When : Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

Where : Main Campus, IIT Tower 13th Floor Student Lounge 

When : 6pm-8pm


Now, do YOU wish to be one of the finalists and stand a chance to win incredible prizes? Well, here’s your chance! In addition to the 8 finalists listed above, we have 2 more spots available and this is how you can earn your place in those spots.


Exclusive Video Pitch Competition Guidelines


1. Record your pitch and make sure the pitch itself is under 90 seconds. Look at

 for example

2. Upload your video to either Youtube, Vimeo or other sites that allow you to share the video with others

3. Send the link of the video to us via email – by SUNDAY, 6PM.

4. On Tuesday, Oct 22 2013, the top 2 video pitches will be announced and will move on to the final.


It’s as simple as that! Do not miss this opportunity to win these attractive prizes :

  • First place: $500 Elance Credit + Full access to the National CEO Conference ($200+ value) + entry to the National CEO Elevator Pitch Competition with a chance to win up to $3,500
  • Second place : $250 Elance Credit + 1 day Ticket access to National CEO Conference
  • Third place : $250 Elance Credit + 1 day Ticket access to National CEO Conference
  • People’s Choice Award: 1 day ticket to the National CEO Conference

The National CEO Conference will be held October 31-November 2 at McCormick Place in Chicago.


If you are not a contestant, you are still more than welcome to be an audience for the competition! Cheer, support and vote for your favorite contestant for the People’s Choice Award because you will be our judge for that! Seats for this event are limited and on a first come first serve basis, RSVP to confirm your spot now!

See you at the final and in the mean time – happy pitching!


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Put Your Pitch To The Test : Elevator Pitch Competition

According to Business Week magazine – an elevator pitch is a short summary used to quickly and simply define a person, profession, product, service, organization or event and its value proposition. The phrase “elevator pitch” is derived from the idea that the pitch should not last more than an average elevator ride.

This fall, we at the Entrepreneurship Academy & Collegiate Entrepreneurship Organization are proud to present : Elevator Pitch Competition – Value Proposition in 90 Seconds. Get ready to pitch your idea and win amazing prizes. We invite you to test your skills (or support your favorite contestant) in the upcoming Elevator Pitch Competition.


Semifinal: Monday, October 14, 2013, 6:00-8:00 pm


Final: Wednesday October 23, 2013, 6:00-8:00 pm
Where: IIT Tower, 13th floor, Student Lounge, 10 W. 35th St., Chicago, IL 60616
Registration required – seats are limited!

Want to help your competitive edge or simply learn more about the art of elevator pitching? Join us for a pre-competition workshop to practice and get valuable feedback on your pitch.

Pre-Competition Workshops
When: Wednesday, October 9, 2013, 12:50-1:50 pm or 5:00-6:00 pm
Where: IIT Tower, 13th floor, IIT Entrepreneurship Academy, 10 W. 35th St., Chicago, IL 60616
Registration not required. Participation is not a prerequisite for contestants.


What you stand a chance to win :

• First place: $500 Elance Credit + Full access to the National CEO Conference ($200+ value) + entry to the National CEO Elevator Pitch Competition with a chance to win up to $3,500
• Second place : $250 Elance Credit + 1 day Ticket access to National CEO Conference
• Third place : $250 Elance Credit + 1 day Ticket access to National CEO Conference
• People’s Choice Award: 1 day ticket access to the National CEO Conference

The National CEO Conference will be held October 31-November 2 at McCormick Place in Chicago.


We would also like to take this opportunity to thank our competition sponsor – Elance.

elance large

Lauched in 1999, Elance is an online staffing platform. Serving both businesses and freelancers, they connect both parties through their system. Winners of this competition will win Elance credits.

Don’t wait – RSVP now to secure your seat!

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Innovative Synergy – Ideation Pitch & Match Meetup 9/25

It was yet another awe-inspiring event that brought students from different majors together at the Entrepreneurship Academy’s Ideation Pitch & Match Meetup. More than 30 students were present, many of them new to the concept of ideation but their desire to broaden their horizons overcame this unfamiliarity.



Nik Rokop, the Managing Director of the Entrepreneurship Academy shared some techniques for producing ideas. “Anyone can come up with great ideas!”, said Nik. The audiences were captivated by how easy it is to actually conjure a thought and reiterate it in a way that people can easily comprehend. From the Pareto Theory to the training of the mind, it was sufficient to say that passion and creativity filled the room.


The highlight of the event was when the students themselves stood up, took charge and pitched their idea to everyone present! Not to mention, many great ideas were being presented : revolutionizing note taking in Math class, starting a design studio, reinventing bicycle locks. The enthusiasm and innovative mindset of these students are the very prime characteristics of a successful future entrepreneur, and for that we are very fortunate to be able to watch them start embarking on a very fulfilling entrepreneurial journey.


The Entrepreneurship Academy also gladly introduced Soo Bin Kim, the newly elected President of the Collegiate Entrepreneurship Organization (CEO).  Soo Bin is a driven, intelligent 4th year Marketing student here at IIT and she will lead CEO alongside her newly elected board members. She shared her vision for this student organization. Part of the premier entrepreneurship network with chapters on various university campuses across North America , CEO at IIT aims to provide student entrepreneurs with opportunities, events, chapter activities, and conferences to help start businesses.

Now that you have learned about ideation & pitching, take it up a notch ! Join our Elevator Pitch Competition on Monday, October 14, 6-8pm. Feel that you are not fully prepared for the competition? Well, we have training sessions on Wed Oct 9th on both 12.50pm-1.50 & 5.00pm-6.00pm.

Do not miss the opportunity to win a full access ticket to the National CEO Conference as well as an entry to win $3500 at the National CEO Elevator Pitch Competition.

To everyone else, we would like to invite you to be our audience AND judge for the Elevator Pitch Competition. Root for your favorite contestant and vote for them for the People’s Choice Award.

Don’t wait – RSVP now! Seats are limited and on a first come and first serve basis.

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Register now: IIT Entrepreneurship Academy Idea Pitch & Match meet up – September 25

Based on excellent feedback from our first IIT Entrepreneurship Academy Meet & Greet event, we are thrilled to announce our next — upgraded! — event!

Register today for the Idea Pitch & Match meet up:
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
5:00-6:30 pm
IIT Main Campus, Tower, 13th floor student lounge
10 W. 35th St., Chicago, IL 60616

This event is designed for you to share your ideas, connect with like-minded students, build a team, find mentors, and take the first steps toward your entrepreneurial dreams!


In addition to networking, attendees can learn more about the Collegiate Entrepreneur’s Organization (CEO Club) at IIT, a group where potential entrepreneurs can always be inspired and connected.

Seats are limited and are available on a first come, first served basis. Register and confirm your spot now!

As always, best of luck in your studies and all of your entrepreneurial endeavors, and we look forward to seeing you next week.

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Here Comes The 2013 Chicago Innovation Awards Top 100 Finalists Winner – Dane Christianson!

All IIT rock stars, please join us on congratulating Dane Christianson, one of our own at IIT who was nominated the Top 100 Finalist of the 2013 Chicago Innovation Awards!


Successful young entrepreneur star at IIT, Dane Christianson is also currently a mechanical engineering student. He was inspired by IIT in 2012 to revisit his project of inventing the X-cube, a 3-D puzzle that allows the extension of another two faces. Dane has made a great success in bringing the idea and his innovation into reality. From the time he invented his first X-cube, he strived to create, communicate and deliver the value of his invention to everyone through the help of EA (Entrepreneurship Academy) and all kinds of social media, and finally founded his own company – Moving Parts LLC this year.

X cube Header2

The Chicago Innovation Awards is a local organization aiming “To make Chicago a recognized hub of innovation by igniting a new narrative for our region, strengthening its economic future and building the spirit of innovation throughout the community. ” (Quote from their main website) It awards the most innovative products and services each year, educates people with the power of innovation and connect young entrepreneurs with rich resources.

It is a great honor for Dan to be nominated the Top 100 Finalists of the 2013 Chicago Innovation Awards. The top 100 organizations cut across all industries, from large corporations to start-ups, for-profit and non-profit, high tech, low tech, and no tech. They differ in many ways, but they are all bound by their commitment to innovation. Over the next few weeks, judges from The Chicago Innovation Awards will select the 10 winners of the Chicago Innovation Awards, as well as winners of the Up-and-Comer Awards, Social Innovator Award and Collaboration Award. These innovations will be celebrated at the 12th annual Chicago Innovation Awards at the Harris Theater on October 30th. Invitations are expected to be out soon!Slides-for-website-v41

Right now, we’re asking YOU to be an IIT entrepreneur supporter and an X-Cube fan by clicking the image above to vote for Dane to be the People’s Choice Award winner! Voting ends on October 4th, and you can simply click on the image, locate “X-Cube”, and let’s all make X-Cube the winner!



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Sparkling interaction between IIT Entrepreneurship Academy and Students



“I would love to sponsor a competition where the contestants sit down and compete on figuring out my inventions” said Dane Christianson, the X-cube (3-D puzzle) inventor, an entrepreneur and a mechanical engineering student at Illinois Tech. Dane was a guest speaker at the First Meet & Greet event organized by IIT Entrepreneurship Academy on Aug 26.




Attended by over 50 students, staff and guests, the First Meet and Greet event was another successful entrepreneurship related advising and networking event held by IIT Entrepreneurship Academy. Lively conversations and interaction between the MonkeyBars team, Knapp Center board member Steve Johns and the students was another sparkling part of the event. Participants with interest in starting their own businesses were inspired by the new ideas and quick execution by these amazing student entrepreneurs. Amazed by the innovative ideas and our students’ enthusiasm for entrepreneurship, special guest Celestine McGee, Assistant Director of the Career Management Center also conveyed her full support to the organization.



The upcoming sessions by IIT Entrepreneurship Academy will focus on providing students with more advice and insights into making their idea a reality in the current economic market. Please visit us on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for many exciting new events and profiles of our community of entrepreneurs!


All images provided by Celestine McGee from The Career Management Center.
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First Meet & Greet. August 26th Monday – save the date!

Kick start your semester with the IIT Entrepreneurship Academy at our first meet & greet on Monday, August 26! This is a great opportunity to network with like-minded, entrepreneurial students and hear from amazing IIT student entrepreneurs.

NOTE: Space is limited to the first 50 students who register.

When: Monday, August 26, 2013, 5:00-6:00 pm
Where: IIT Tower, 13th floor, Student Lounge, 10 W. 35th St., Chicago, IL 60616

Refreshments will be served.
Register today!


Featured student entrepreneurs:


The X-cube is an innovative, 3-D puzzle with over 1.6 million views on Youtube that has raised more than $50,000 on Kickstarter. Hear from X-cube inventor Dane Christianson, a mechanical engineering student at Illinois Tech, about developing and launching his idea.


MonkeyBars is a company developed by a team of IIT students that creates spaces for designers, software/hardware developers and tech enthusiasts to learn, collaborate, and build through hackathons and other events. Meet founder Taylor Harvey and his team, and learn about their upcoming initiatives.

Register to attend the Meet & Greet.


We hope to see you there and at our events throughout the semester!

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Introducing : Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) at Illinois Tech




Global Entrepreneurship Week: Nov. 18-22, 2013


This year, we at the IIT Entrepreneurship Academy are delighted to host the first ever Global Entrepreneurship Week at IIT! This exciting, action-packed and innovative event is brought to you by the IIT Entrepreneurship Academy (EA) in partnership with IIT Stuart School of Business, IIT Alumni Association, 1871, MonkeyBars, Undergraduate Business Council, and International Student Organization.

Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) is the world’s largest celebration of the innovators and job creators who launch startups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth, and expand human welfare. During one week each November, GEW inspires people everywhere through local, national, and global activities designed to help them take the next step in their entrepreneurial journey. These activities, from large-scale competitions and events to intimate networking gatherings, connect participants to potential collaborators, mentors and even investors—introducing them to new possibilities and exciting opportunities.

For more information or to familiarize yourself with the week’s schedule of events, check out the Global Entrepreneurship Week tab located at the top right of the site. Alternatively, click here to be directed to the page.


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