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News & Events: 2011-2012

Students pitch their "big ideas"

Six students representing three academic majors pitched their “big idea” at Calvin’s second-annual Elevator Pitch Competition, held at the Prince Conference Center. Kim VandenAkker, a senior international development major from Grand Rapids, Mich., took the $1,000 prize.

VandenAkker pitched an idea for an internet-based job shadowing program, which would allow high school students to explore job and career kimvandenakkeropportunities after pairing them with local businesses. Junior mechanical engineering major and second-place winner Lake Chen, from Changsha City, China, pitched an idea for a blue light alarm clock. Jamaal Fridge, a junior business major from Chicago, Ill., pitched a video game with evangelical undertones. The runners-up won $600 and $300 respectively.

A People’s Choice Award was also awarded this year. The award was determined by an audience vote and given to Lake Chen. Chen presented his ideas clearly and was able to answer the judges questions with ease.

“The Elevator Pitch Competition inspires entrepreneurial and innovative thinking, idea generation, and creativity,” said business professor Bob Medema, who works closely with Calvin’s Entrepreneurship Club to host the event. “And today’s employers are seeking creative, entrepreneurial-minded people. We were thrilled with the creativity these students brought to the competition, and we look forward to seeing their ideas further developed.”  

The winner of the competition, sponsored by lakechenSoundOff Signal and presented by the Calvin Entrepreneurship Club, with additional assistance from the Calvin Center for Innovation in Business, will compete against contestants from Grand Valley State University, Hope College, Aquinas College, Cornerstone University, Davenport University, and Grand Rapids Community College on November 3.

SoundOff Signal, Inc. is an international corporation headquartered in Hudsonville, Michigan, that offers safety solutions, sirens, speakers, and switches for law enforcement vehicles, school buses, trucks and trailers, as well as products for fire and volunteer needs.