HGN: Academic Alliance group expands network and starts pitch competition
“The Mid-South LifeSciTN Academic Alliance Chapter, which is supported by , St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), the University of Memphis, Rhodes College and Start Co. consists of graduate students and postdoctoral researchers interested in creating opportunities for entrepreneurship, career development and knowledge sharing with the goal of creating a more robust life science industry network.
Recently, the group has been taking advantage of and connecting to some other Memphis resources. James Bell, the Bioworks Entrepreneur in Residence is the group’s Entrepreneurism director, and the February speaker was Isaac Rodriguez of SweetBio, Inc. one of the four companies in the 2015 ZeroTo510 device accelerator cohort. For March, Allan Daisley, President of ZeroTo510, spoke about the 2016 season.
In addition to the usual speakers, a new highlight at the last two events was the new “fast-pitch elevator pitch contest.” Attendees volunteer to quickly develop an elevator pitch for a fictional company that shared the name of our speaker’s company. An elevator pitch is a short summary used to quickly and simply define a startup’s value proposition.
This first pitch contest was such a success that the Academic Alliance received support from Start Co, for the prize money. For March, the elevator pitch topic was announced, again an idea for a fictitious company – this time named after a breakfast cereal. Teams and individuals competed for prizes by making up the most convincing fictional business pitch.
“At Start Co. we want to support the cultivation of entrepreneurial talent, knowledge and skills throughout our entire community,” said Claire Coulter, Program Coordinator at Start Co. “Supporting the Academic Alliance is a no-brainer for us especially for programming like the pitch competition which helps our area students build valuable skills that will help them in business and startup life.””