Elevating business

Sara Votta celebrates with the other award winners in Iceland

A student from Heriot-Watt University won second prize in a recent 'Elevator Pitch' competition in Iceland.

Sara Votta and Julien Dufour took part in the MIT Global Start-up workshop in Reykjavik thanks to the generosity of Edinburgh Informatics. Both are third year students taking a Business Venturing module in the School of Management and Languages.

The aim of the workshop is to connect the next generation of entrepreneurs with some of the world's most renowned business leaders, entrepreneurs and supporters, and the event included keynote lectures from leading global figures.

Both Heriot-Watt University students entered the Elevator Pitch competition at the event, using ideas developed in the Heriot-Watt University module, which is run by Cathie Wright. This was a new experience for the students who were up against 28 competitors from countries across the world, some of whom have been in business for several years.

An elevator pitch is 55 seconds in which the speaker summarises their business idea in as compelling a fashion as possible in order to capture the interest of a potential investor. Neither Sara nor Julien had participated in such an event before and Julien, who is French, was presenting in English, his second language.

Sara won second prize, beating established business people, MIT students and pitchers from all over the world. Her pitch to an audience of 300 people was based on ideas developed by her group in the Business Venturing module featuring the Fruit Elixir product, a puree of exotic Caribbean fruits presented in a squeezy tube to add zest to home cooking, baking and drinks.

Both Sara and Julien were awarded certificates for their efforts, with Sara also receiving $500 for her second place in the competition.