Yingtong Qui, a student at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s Fox Cities campus, is savoring his first place finish in the recent 2021 Elevator Pitch Contest hosted by the Alta Resources Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
Qui, with his CloudWorld online platform, topped a group of 11 students who pitched their business ideas in 90 seconds to a panel of alumni judges. He is a freshman student from ChangZhou City, JiangSu Province, China, who said he was thinking about his idea for only a couple of months—a social media platform that builds a connection between businesses seeking employees and job-seekers.
“China doesn’t have a business social media today,” Qui said. He noted that when he came to the U.S. and saw Linkedin, he came up with his idea. He said he hoped to make money with premium accounts available for purchase and from ad sales bought by companies recruiting to find more talent.
Qui won $1,000 that is designated as seed funding to support his startup needs.
“I was very excited…,” Qui said about winning the contest. “This result was unexpected because my English is not as good as native speakers. I think that I won because of my idea and the huge potential market.”
Second place and a $350 prize went to business management major Kyle Jessen of the Oshkosh campus for Gerbil Leads, a subscription platform that aims to provide contractors (starting with landscapers and window cleaners) with relevant leads for services; third place and a $150 prize was won by economics major Ene Idoko of the Oshkosh campus, for Colored by Cilla, an eyeshadow palette with multiple colors, shades and textures to create any eyeshadow look.
“I applaud all the students for taking a step out of their comfort zone,” said Dan Brosman, director of UWO Small Business Development Center and the Alta Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. “It’s not easy to fit the excitement of a new business opportunity into a concise 90- second pitch. Yingtong presented a well-rehearsed pitch presentation and kept the audience engaged throughout.”
The contest helped bring out the creativity of students who are striving to find a solution to everyday problems. It also provided students with a fun opportunity to pitch a business in a welcoming environment.
“I am consistently energized by the innovations shared by our UW Oshkosh students,” Brosman said.
Qui said he plans to seek a bachelor of business administration degree, with a focus on management and accounting.