Elevator Pitch Contest

The Annual MIT GSW Elevator Pitch Training and Competition gives innovators from around the globe the opportunity to hone their presentation skills, build confidence and present their ideas in 60 seconds or less to the entire GSW audience for the opportunity to win cash prizes.

An elevator pitch is a brief overview of an idea for a product, service, or project that can be delivered in the space of an elevator ride (say, thirty seconds or 100-150 words). The goal is to interest your target enough in your idea that he or she wants to meet with you again. Potential investors often judge the quality of an idea and team on the basis of its elevator pitch, using them to quickly weed out bad ideas.

The essential elements include:

  1. An introduction – Who are you?
  2. Hook – What is the problem / opportunity?
  3. Solution – What are you doing about it?
  4. Value proposition – How does this create value for the target?
  5. Call to action – Can we meet again?

The MIT GSW EPC is a three day event with “how to pitch” training on Day 1, Preliminaries on Day 2 and the Finals on Day 3 with invited judges.


2011 MIT GSW Winning Pitches:



Entrants will sign up to pitch competitively following the EPC Training.

Pitches will be delivered in a random order determined the day of the event. If you miss your assigned slot, you may not be permitted to present.

Pitches are limited to 60 seconds and contestants will be promptly cut off.

No props or visual aids of any kind are allowed during the presentation

Decisions of the judges are final and may not be appealed.

One Overall Winner, an Audience Favorite, and two Runners-Up will be chosen.



All registered attendees of the MIT GSW are eligible to enter and both teams and individuals are welcome to participate, though we find that individual pitches are most successful.
A pitch may only be entered once and the subject of the pitch must be your own work or that of your team. Any entrants discovered to be pitching others’ ideas without appropriate consent will be immediately disqualified.

Individuals or teams must not have accepted any outside funding for the idea being presented. Companies may present if they have accepted no funding and have not commercialized the product/service being pitched.
The entrant must be present on the day of the event to participate and present at the Gala Dinner in order to win.

Contestants are expected to behave respectfully to all other contestants, sponsors, judges, volunteers, and audience members.

Decisions of the MIT GSW Team are final.



First Place $1500
Second Place $500
Third Place $250
Crowd Favorite $250

*actual amount subject to change


Judging Criteria

Pitches will be evaluated on four, equally-weighted categories:

  1. Presentation
    • Body Language/Charisma, Clarity, Articulation, Passion
  2. Opportunity
    • Market identification, Size and attractiveness, Target customer identification
  3. Solution
    • Value proposition, Differentiation, Financial viability/profitability
  4. The Big Question
    • Do you want another meeting?



Here’s what one expert told us:

  • 1st sentence: State the Problem
  • 2nd sentence: State your solution
  • 3rd sentence: Who you are, why you’re the one to solve the problem
  • 4th sentence: State the value proposition
  • 5th sentence: Call to action (what the audience or recipient should do next)