Your Elevator Pitch

by Elaine Schwartz    •    May 13, 2011    •    667 Views

What if you had just 1 minute to sell your business idea? According to Marketplace.org, your “elevator pitch” would need, 1) to state the problem you are solving; 2) to explain why your solution will have marketplace success; 3) to present a “catchy” thought at the end.

Or, more specifically, this winning video for Clear Ear says, 1) earwax is a problem for 35 million Americans; 2) our earwax remedy is faster, safer, easier than the traditional spray water in the ear method; 3) so, we will help the 350 million people worldwide with earwax problems. The Clear Ear team from MIT and Stanford won $2,000.

On May 11, at the MIT finale, Sanergy, a sanitation start-up, won the $100,000 grand prize. You can see their business idea here and other MIT finalists here.

The Economic Lesson

Economist Joseph Schumpeter (1883-1950) tells us that innovation leads to a “paradox of progress” that he called “creative destruction.” In The Wealth and Poverty of Nations, Harvard’s David Landes discusses the impact of 5 early inventions (pp. 45-59): the water wheel; eyeglasses; the mechanical clock; printing; gunpowder.

An Economic Question: To raise the money you would have needed to manufacture one of the innovations cited by Dr. Landes, create a 1 minute elevator pitch.

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