Nineteen Laval Entrepreneur Mentor Program students made their way to Kansas City, Mo to attend the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization Global Conference and Pitch Competition. The annual event brings together over 800 college students with a passion for entrepreneurship. The Conference also hosts the oldest and largest Elevator Pitch Competition in the world for college students with only 80 students accepted to pitch.
A historic six current and former Laval Entrepreneur Mentor Program students were selected to compete in the Elevator Pitch Competition. They joined 74 students from across the country prepared to make a 90 second pitch of their business model to a panel of judges over the course of two days.
The first round was held on Friday November 2 with four current and former EMP students successfully moving to the semi-final round joining 12 other students. Our four students advancing to the “Sweet Sixteen” were Alicia Porras (Humble), Gladys Sanchez (Tony’s Coconut Fusion), Rafalea Santillan (Naked Earth Project) and Tyler Puccio (12V Enterprise).
Eight students from the semi-final round were selected to advance to the final round of competition with three of the final students from the EMP program: Gladys Sanchez, Rafalea Santillan, and Tyler Puccio. The final round was held in the Conference Center Hall with the students pitching on a stage before the conference attendees.
The competition was intense, but we proudly hit the highest level with Tyler Puccio claiming top prize and $5000. Rafalea Santillan placed third with a prize of $2000. And before the winners were announced, the Director of Future Founders took the stage to announce Tyler Puccio has been selected to pitch at the 5th Annual U. Pitch National Elevator Pitch Competition in Chicago on November 16. There, 18 students will compete for $10,000 in cash prizes at “1871”, one of the largest new venture accelerators and co-working spaces in the country.
I am proud of all our Laval Entrepreneur Mentor Students who provided support and encouragement to our pitch contestants. And also, to the mentors who provided countless hours in coaching the EMP students with their pitch and refinement of business models.
Preparation for the event began with coaching students ten days earlier at the Launch Pad followed by multiple pitches in classes.
Special thanks go to the Laval Family for their financial support of travel, registration, and lodging for the EMP students.

Professor Stearns has hosted the CEO Elevator Pitch Competition since 2005. He has coached countless students and entrepreneurs in the “Art of the Pitch”.